Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday said articles 370 and 35A – that were hollowed out on August 5 to revoke Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status – were the gateway of terrorism in the country and praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for closing it, Hindustan Times reported.

Shah made the remark in New Delhi while flagging off a marathon from Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi to commemorate the 144th birth anniversary of India’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It came a few hours after Jammu and Kashmir ceased to be a state, and was split into the Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Shah said the Modi government had fulfilled Patel’s dream of repealing these two constitutional provisions and integrating Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of India. “Article 370 and 35A became a problem in this integration process and no one touched on these subjects,” PTI quoted him as saying. “The unfulfilled dream of Patel was realised on August 5...”

Taking a dig at the Congress, the home minister claimed that for many years Patel was not given the respect he deserved, and attempts were made to forget him. He alleged that the icon of India’s fight against British colonialism was not given Bharat Ratna for many years, his proper statue was not installed, and his portrait was not allowed to be put up. Narendra Modi started the process of giving due honour to Patel when he became chief minister of Gujarat, he added.

The Modi government has been observing October 31 as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, or National Unity Day, since 2014. Thousands of people, including schoolchildren, ex-servicemen and senior citizens, took part in the marathon that was scheduled to culminate at India Gate.

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