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Questioning Art 35-A will reopen debate on accession: Omar Abdullah

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Srinagar, Aug 14: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah Tuesday said any attempts to tinker with Article 35-A will have serious ramifications and would inevitably reopen the debate on J&K’s accession with the Union of India.

Addressing the monthly provincial committee meeting here today, the NC vice-president according to the party press release reminded the “powers that be” that J&K acceded with the Union of India on certain conditions unlike the other princely states in 1947.

“If legality of the Article 35-A comes under scanner, then the relationship between the state and country will also come under scrutiny,” he asserted.

Referring to various guarantees that the State enjoyed within Constitution of India, Omar said “all our constitutional authorities assume office after taking oath under our own state’s constitution. Our state is the only state in the country where this is possible.”

The NC leader said the voices coming out to support and protect Article 35-A are region-, religion-neutral and any attempts to give it a communal color have been defeated.

“BJP MLA from RS Pura recently spoke passionately in favour of Article 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 favor of Article 35-A,” Omar Abdullah.

“It was our party which raised the issue of Article 35-A in the Legislative Assembly in 2015. The then PDP-BJP government had no idea about the threats to state’s special status and were not alarmed for reasons known to them. Upon our persistence, the government finally took the legal course on Article 35-A,” he claimed.

Reiterating the party’s resolve to fight for state’s special status at all fora, Omar Abdullah said, “We will fight for Article  35-A both legally as well as on the streets. While we continue with our peaceful protests in favour of Article 35-A across the state.”

He said NC has also filed an intervention plea in the SC and has sought the services of best possible lawyers to protect Article 35-A in the SC.