Reacting sharply to Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s statement that Article 35-A is constitutionally vulnerable, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has said that the BJP is trying to convert constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an occupation.
“BJP is trying very hard to convert legal and constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion. It is unfortunate that Sangh Parivar has fielded one of the better-known lawyers of the country to oppose the Supreme Court orders which have upheld Article-35-A not once but twice in the past,” said senior PDP leader and Former Minister Naeem Akhtar, adding it seems Sangh Parivar considers itself above the Supreme Court and That is why Jaitley has chosen to patronisingly pronounce that Article 35-A is constitutionally vulnerable.
Akhtar said Jaitley, perhaps, needs not to be told that the framing and the approval of the Constitution and its development is not an isolated event but it has a political constitutional history behind it which the Sang Parivar and some of their allies in the media try to overlook in pursuit of votes.
Stating that Sangh is selectively invoking history, Akhtar said that while they are reopening the files pertaining to the reign of Mughal king Babar in Ayodhya and digging up 500-year-old graves, in case of Jammu and Kashmir they are not willing to have a look at the contemporary history which is an essential part of nation-building in South Asia. “The accession by Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India was perhaps the most exciting experiment in the formation of modern, secular and inclusive nation but unfortunately the Sangh Parivar and its ilk in other parties have from time to time reduced this relationship to an uneasy sufferance,” Akhtar said and added that accession has degenerated virtually into a forced marriage through repeated letdowns, erosion of authority of the state and deception.
Akhtar said that Jaitley should know more than anybody else about the laws of the state and that the Article 35-A is not in any way a hurdle in investment in the state. “The state subject and land laws in Jammu and Kashmir have ample room for investment by non- state subjects whether in power sector, tourism, industries or education. That is how most of the industrial activity in Jammu is run by non- state subject investors. Similarly, there are joint ventures with top brands in the hospitality industry thriving in the state,” said the PDP leader.
He added that what has caused a reverse are the constant attempts by the BJP to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir by threatening to do away with this special status. “If the BJP is sincere in bringing back peace to the state, it should follow what Vajpayee had done during his tenure in cooperation with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. It is unfortunate that the Sang Parrivar demonises Nehru who was one of the architects of the accession along with Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and on the other hand refuse to follow their own Prime Minister Vajpayee in finding a way out of trouble.
He said that BJP has already in the past nine months, since the collapse of the government in the state, done enough in Jammu and Kashmir to marginalise the majority of the population as they have done with 20 Crore Muslims of the country by squeezing them out of the power structure. “They are behaving in Jammu and Kashmir as the British would do in their empire or Italians would do in Libya. This is a dangerous trend but it looks that the government in Delhi is trying to convert Jammu and Kashmir, especially Valley into an in-house punching bag and a low-cost enemy which they can defeat every day and tell their followers in rest of the country that they are avenging the 800-year old history of Muslim rule on the sub-continent,” Akhtar said.
He said that Article 35-A is neither a charity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir nor a concession. “It is our right because Jammu and Kashmir in spite of having been an overwhelmingly Muslim majority state had decided to through its lot with a secular country which is increasingly refusing to stay secular under BJP,” Akhtar added.