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UP deputy CMs hail Modi, Shah for scrapping Art 370

Lucknow, Aug 5 (PTI) Hailing the Centre's decision to revoke Article 370, which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Dinesh Sharma on Monday termed the move as "historic". Another Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah for the Centre's decision, and said, "this is the beginning of a new era". "This decision has brought a new morning for the people of Jammu and Kashmir. This has rectified the mistake committed by the Congress government almost 70 years ago and is a step in the forward direction to connect Kashmir with India in true sense. This is a bold move to strengthen the unity and integrity of the country," Sharma told PTI. "Today is a festive day," he added. Sharma said the revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution has made all the states equal now. "Now all states of the country are equal. The move to make Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Union territories is a step taken in the interest of the country," he said. He also thanked Modi and Shah for the strong willpower shown by them. "While introducing the Bill, Union Home Minister Amit Shah reminded us of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel," said Sharma, praising the Union home minister. "This has also paved the way for making a common law in the entire country," he added. Sharma said the revocation of Article 370 will rid the state of terrorism, help the poor, weak and the women to get justice and was a step towards realisation of the concept of "one nation, one flag" while honouring Syama Prasad Mookerjee-- founder of the Bharatiya Jan Sangh. "The cries of 'Jahan huye balidan Mookerjee, woh Kashmir hamara hai' (the place where Mookerjee attained martyrdom, that Kashmir is ours) have been fulfilled," said Sharma. However, those who have been indulging in politics in the name of Article 370, will be unable to digest it, he said. Meanwhile, Keshav Prasad Maurya said, "We have been saying even before the Lok Sabha elections that if there is Modi, then everything is possible as far as national interest is concerned. This is beginning of a new era."Meanwhile, Kashmiri Pandits settled in Uttar Pradesh for years celebrated the revocation of Article 370 saying it had revived their hopes of returning to their homeland one day. Joining the celebrations in Lucknow, secretary Panun Kashmir, Lucknow Ravi Kachru said this step will go a long way in establishing peace and order in the strife-torn valley.Distributing sweets, media joint secretary of Panun Kashmir, Lucknow Ravinder Kotru said, "We are hopeful that we will be able to make our children visit our homeland from where we had to move out leaving our homes. We had hope in our hearts that we will return one day."The Centre on Monday revoked Article 370 which gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir and proposed that the state be bifurcated into two union territories -- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. PTI SAB NAV RHL