by Tahir Bhat
Peoples Democratic Party President and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday warned the government on Article 35A, saying if it’s scrapped, the country might see what it hasn’t seen since 1947.
Mehbooba while addressing a press conference in Srinagar said, “Don’t play with fire, don’t fiddle with Article-35A, else you will see what you haven’t seen since 1947.
Mehbooba said that any unnecessary fiddling with article 35-A will nullify the legitimization of accession of Jammu and Kashmir with the country.
She said, “If it’s attacked then I don’t know which flag people of J&K will be forced to pick up instead of the tricolour.”
PDP president warned the centre to not push people of Jammu and Kashmir to war by fiddling with the article 35-A.
Mehbooba said that it is unfortunate that the Kashmir is made part of election strategy every time there are elections in the country. “Ahead of 2014 elections, Afzal Guru was hanged and the court pronounced the verdict as satisfying the collective conscience of the country. At present, there are attempts being made to destabilise the situation in the state and create a war hysteria to secure votes,” Mehbooba said.
“Now, it is the test of the Supreme Court. We have very high regard for the SC and I hope that before taking a decision on Article 35A, the SC would think that Article 370 – whose part is Article 35A is a bridge in our relationship with the country,” she said.
While commenting on the recent crackdown on Hurriyat and Jamaat leaders, She said the creation of war-like situation in the state by the government and stated that the chaos and confusion is being created without any reason. “In 2016, when Uri attack happened, I was put under pressure to launch a crackdown against separatists and religious leaders in Kashmir and create the war-like situation. I opposed such a directive and didn’t want any such thing to happen,” said Mehbooba.
Mehbooba said that all mainstream parties should unite and devise a strategy for the safeguarding of the article 35A. She said that she is in contact with national conference Vice President Omar Abdullah and soon a joint strategy will be adopted to protect the state’s special status from assaults being launched against it on multiple fronts.
“We should have a strategy that no attack happens on article 35-A. I would like to appeal all political parties that we should sit together and strategize the future course to safeguard article 35 A,” said Mehbooba.
Mehbooba said the need of establishing a joint front of all regional political parties and appealed CPI (M) leader Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami, Hakeem Mohammad Yasin, Ghulam Hassan Mir, Engineer Abdul Rashid and others to join the unanimous fight for the safeguard of Article 35-A.
Mehbooba also slammed the decision of withdrawing the security of separatists and other political leaders in the state.
Earlier National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said Jammu and Kashmir might find itself in a situation that is worse than what Arunachal Pradesh is presently facing if the Centre interferes with Article 35 A of the Constitution, which gives special rights and privileges to people in Jammu and Kashmir.
“You keep threatening us with article 35 A. Look at what is happening in Arunachal Pradesh now where there is no militancy. They have interfered with their Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) as we have. See what is now happening there,” Omar said.
All mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir have come out in defence of Article 35A, even as the state government has said its stand on the issue remains unchanged as it would seek an adjournment in the Supreme court when the matter comes up for hearing.