Reopening art 35A, 370 will reopen accession too: Omar

by Umar Mukhtar

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Friday said the people of the state must remain cautious against the BJP and its “proxies” as the saffron party is making attempts to tinker with the state’s special status.

“The BJP will not rest until it destroys the special status of Jammu and Kashmir. It’s not alone as several parties are acting as its proxies in Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar told reporters here.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister hit out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley for advocating in a recent blog repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status.

“If you want to debate Article 370 and Article 35A, then I am sorry, there will be questions raised on the accession as well, because accession was on these very terms,” former chief minister and vice president National Conference Omar Abdullah said on Friday while slamming the BJP lawmaker Arun Jaitley for his controversial remarks on Article 35-A.

“He either forgets or has not been informed well enough that before the advent of militancy (in 1989) there was no such complaint here. If Jammu and Kashmir have suffered, it is due to militancy and not Article 35A. If you look at the period before 1990, the state was counted among the fastest growing ones of the country. There was no industry which was not found in the state then,” Omar said.

Omar said Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on the basis of a “negotiated settlement by virtue of which the state had all the powers, except those related to currency, communications, defence and foreign affairs.”

“Nowhere has it been made time-bound, as it will last for 10 or 20 years. It is a straightforward thing — as long as this state is part of India, it will be given a special status,” he said.

Omar said the BJP had launched an assault on the state’s special status for past several years and was duly helped by the PDP in its pursuit for “sake of power.”

“This danger is not new but has increased over the past five years, especially since 2015 when BJP and PDP formed the state government,” he said.

He further said that Jammu and Kashmir is not the only state in the country that has special status and identity.

“North East, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar or Lakshadweep have special status and their own identity under the same Indian constitution. Why is it always that Jammu and Kashmir has to face the onslaught of these right-wing parties?”

He said that there was a wrong notion that special status is only for Valley Muslims. “Article 35-A is beneficial for Kargil, Leh as well as for the people of Jammu,” Omar said.


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