Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that Bharatiya Janata Pa-rty (BJP) will have to forget Kashmir if it succeeds in abolishing Article 35A of the Constitution.
“Any fiddling with Art-icle 35A is fraught with serious consequences. If the BJP seeks to do away with Article 35A or Article 370 they will also have to forget Kashmir”, she said while reacting to BJP president Amit Shah’s reportedly assertion that Article 35A will go by 2020.
While speaking at a fun-ction, Mr Shah had said that the abrogating Ar-ticle 35A was in the BJP manifesto and has been so since 1950. He had said, “It has not happened till now as we do not have a majority in Rajya Sabha.”
Article 35A of the Constitution empowers the J&K legislature to define a class of persons as constituting “permanent residents” of the State and also allows it to confer special rights and privileges to the people with respect to employment and acquisition of immovable property in the State.
Former chief minister and president of National Conference (NC) Farooq Abdullah while reacting to Shah’s assertion reiterated that any attempt to harm Article 35A and Article 370, which guarantees special status to the State within the Indian Union, would unarguably cast shadow on the fundamentals of the accession of the State with the Union of India.
His son and NC’s vice president Omar Abdullah said that J&K’s accession with the Union of India was accomplished in lieu of various constitutional safeguards for the State and if these safeguards are tempered with the entire scheme of accession will be under question.
He said, “J&K is the only state that executed its accession with the Union of India after securing itself certain constitutional safeguards. We’re not like any another state of India. Every other state got merged with the Union of India. We joined the Union on certain conditions unlike other states of India”.
He asked, “Does any other state in India have its own flag and constitution?” and then said, “Our handshake with Indian union was subject to certain conditions”. He said that now after 70 years forces inimical to the special status of J&K are trying to back track from the conditions. “The move will also initiate debate on the fundamentals of accession. There is no second thought about it. It takes two hands to clap,” he said.
Junior Abdullah who is a former chief minister of the State further said, “In 1947 certain assurances were given to us in the form of securing our identity, and the assurances were for all times. Before Amit Shah, Arun Jaitley also had made some uncouth remarks on Article 35A. Let me put it across that we won’t allow that to happen. Article 370 and Article 35A are articles of faith for us.”