Modi Has Gaps in Constitutional Knowledge, Article 370 unscrappable: Mufti

KL Report

JAMMU

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acceded to India in pursuit of some dreams which still  elude them and constitutional guarantees that can neither be withdrawn  nor wished away,” said the PDP patron.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.

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