Expressing concern at the serious gaps in the constitutional knowledge of BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Peoples Democratic Party Sunday said even the Parliament of the country is not constitutionally mandated to review or scrap article 370 of the constitution of India.
Reacting sharply to Narendra Modi’s call for the Parliament to debate article 370 with a view to scrapping it, party patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said one had expected the prime ministerial hopeful to steer clear of the divisive issues and follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee in building bridges rather than spark off controversies that have no relevance except trying to reap votes at the cost of national interest.
Mufti said even the ordinary students of constitutional history know that article 370 providing special status to J&K has gained a permanent status after the constitutional assembly of the state approved it.
“Even the article 1 of the constitution of India determining the territory of the country applies to J&K by virtue of Article 370 only. Scrap this bridge with rest of the country and the entire gamut of accession and related issues stare in your face” Mufti reminded Modi.
Mufti said If Modi aspires for the top job of a country as diverse as India he will have to rise above prejudices, perceptions, propaganda and work for uniting people rather than dividing them.
“His raking up of article 370 is a very disturbing indicator of his approach to sensitivities of the people of Jammu and Kashmir who acceded to India in pursuit of some dreams which still elude them and constitutional guarantees that can neither be withdrawn nor wished away,” said the PDP patron.
He said Modi’s utterances have the potential of creating fissures within the state besides increasing trust deficit between the state and rest of the country. PDP patron reminded BJP prime ministerial candidate that rights of women of Jammu and Kashmir are equal as compare to the other parts of the country. “Females of Jammu and Kashmri enjoy equal rights as compare to the males of the state”, he maintained and said that women of Jammu and Kashmir who married outside the have equal constitutional rights as compared to men of the state. “It is factually incorrect to say that women of Jammu and Kashmir do not enjoy equal rights”, he observed, adding, “any woman of Jammu and Kashmir who married outside does not lose her inheritance rights” Mufti further reminded that Modi that Gujjars and Bakerwals of Jammu and Kashmir have been granted Scheduled Tribe (ST) rights way back in early 1990s so BJP leader should correct his this information also.Expressing hope that people of the state would take Modi’s remarks on article 370 and the state subject law as no more than electoral rhetoric, Mufti said if push ever came to shove the state would rise up against any attempt at diluting the special position of the state. He said instead of treading the familiar beaten track of BJP one would have expected Modi to unfold a future vision of resolving the issue of Jammu and Kashmir which in recent times had been indicated by none other than prime minister Vajpayee with resounding results.
“The Vajpayee initiative had helped entire South Asia to dream about a better, peaceful and friendly region in which the conflict ridden J&K too could seek its share of joys and satisfactions that it has been deprived of” said Mufti PDP patron, however, said that unlike other parts of the country, democracy was not allowed to flourish in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that sanctity of the democratic institutions like Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) are undermined in Jammu and Kashmir. Failure of the present regime headed by National Conference to empower Panchayats and to conduct Urban Local Bodies elections is an example of eroding sanctity of democratic institutions.