Questioning Art 35(A) Will Reopen Accession Debate: Omar Abdullah

SRINAGAR: National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said any attempts to tinker with Article 35 A will have serious ramifications and would inevitably reopen the debate on J&Ks accession with the Union of India.

The spokesman in a statement said that while addressing the monthly Provincial Committee (Kashmir) Meeting at party Headquarters Nawa-e-Subha in Srinagar, the NC Vice President reminded the powers that J&K acceded with the Union of India on certain conditions unlike the other princely states in 1947. “If the legality of the Article 35 A comes under the scanner, then the relationship between the state and country will also come under scrutiny.”

Omar referred to various guarantees that the state enjoyed within the Constitution of India. While recalling the unique status of J&K, he said, “All our Constitutional authorities assume office after taking oath under our own States Constitution. Our State is the only state in the country where this is possible.”

He said the voices coming out to support and protect Art 35 A is a region, religion-neutral and any attempts to give it a communal colour have been defeated. “BJP MLA from RS Pura recently spoke passionately in favour of Art 35 A and even lauded Kashmiris for their continuous support to 35 A. It should serve as an eye opener for those who are speaking against it. Even people in Ladakh are openly coming out in favour of Art 35 A,”  Omar said adding, “It was our party which raised the issue of Art 35 A in the Legislative Assembly in 2015. The then PDP BJP government had no idea about the threats to states special status and were not alarmed for reasons known to them. Upon our persistence, the government finally took the legal course on Art 35A.”

While reiterating the party’s resolve to fight for states special status, Omar said, “We will fight for Art 35 A both legally as well as on the streets. While we continue with our peaceful protests in favour of Art 35 A across the state, our party has also filed an intervention plea in the SC and has sought the services of best possible lawyers to protect Art 35 A in the SC.”

He took a detailed review of organizational activities in all Districts of Kashmir Province. In the meeting, party functionaries spoke at length on party activities in their respective areas and apprised the leadership on measures to make party strong at grass root levels.

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