Cannot even think of scrapping Article 370: Nitish

Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar strongly opposed the demand for abrogating Article 370, amid the clamour for doing away with the special provision granting autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir in the aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.

The assertion by Nitish, who is the national president of the JD(U), came at a time when a Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Supreme Court with the request for scrapping the article and demands to this effect have been raised by a number of leaders of the BJP, his ally in the state.

"We can never think in terms of abrogating Article 370. Our party's stand has been clear on this issue. There has been a terror attack and whatever action is required to punish those guilty besides preventing such incidents in future should be taken, Nitish told reporters.

But this does not mean that Jammu and Kashmir should be deprived of a provision that has been in place, he added.

We can never support such a move, or even demands made to this effect, the chief minister said on the sidelines of a function organised by his party.

The JD(U) chief's statement came barely a few hours after Union minister Giriraj Singh, a firebrand BJP leader, made a strong pitch for scrapping Article 370 at Jehanabad district in the state.

Giriraj also blamed first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru for the situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir and claimed that the country was paying the price for the Congress' sin of withdrawing troops from the Pakistan occupied Kashmir (PoK).