Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti Wednesday lambasted the MoS in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh for his comments on Article 370. She said his comments have the potential to divide the state on communal lines.
“We condemn the statement by Singh. His statement has the potential to divide the state,” she said while addressing a press conference.
She expressed hope that Prime Minister Narendra Modi will intervene in the matter and any such statements in the future will be avoided. “They should try to strengthen Article 370. I hope this minister will not put his foot in his mouth again and he will concentrate on his work,” she said.
She said that even in the past lot of efforts were made by many leaders to abolish the Article 370.
“I hope this is the last time we are hearing about its abolition. With such statements, unfortunately, we are moving towards another partition and division,” Mehbooba said.
The PDP chief noted that in the past many jurists and experts told leaders that Article 370 cannot be touched because it is the basis of the relationship of the state with the rest of the country.
“If you try to fiddle with it, that means you will have to re-negotiate a new relationship with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. You will have to ask the people about their decision then. That means you are giving a choice to the people of J&K that they have to re-negotiate about their future. You are giving them a choice, a chance. Is BJP ready to do that? I do not think so,” she said.
Mehbooba said if Article 370 has to be discussed, the BJP should figure out ways to strengthen it.
“They (BJP) should discuss how to give more administrative powers, more share in the civil services, compensation on water resources, our own elected governor,” she said.
The PDP president expressed hope that the Prime Minister will intervene in the matter and assure the people of the state that no power can play with their dignity and honour.
“If BJP wants to bring the people of the state closer, they should talk about strengthening Article 370 rather than abolishing it.
“I hope the PM intervenes and reassures the people of the state that no power on this Earth is going to play with the dignity and the honour of the people of the state. He should address the internal as well as the external dimensions of the Kashmir issue and the people of the state should be able to live with dignity in the country,” she said.