Farhat Naik

Cong-NC-PDP eroded J&K’s special status during their regimes: Sajad Lone

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Dynasties reluctant to emergence of another force in their fiefdom: Lone; Wherefrom Sheikh family got billions: Imran

Srinagar, Nov 23: Shredding apart the claims of PDP, NC and Congress that they were joining hands to “protect the state’s special status”, Peoples Conference chief Sajad Gani Lone Friday said it is “cruel humour” as these are the principal parties who have been actively involved in systematic erosion of the Article 370 and Article 35-A.

Substantiating his claims, Lone circulated a note during a presser here today detailing how J&K’s special status was steadily eroded over a period of time by the three parties.

He said after going through the contents of the note, which he claimed was prepared by a “noted jurist”,  it becomes clear that “these eroders are now trying to wear the hats of the protectors”.

“Whatever is left of the state’s special status needs to be protected from these eroders. Their statement that they got together to protect the special status is cruel humor,” Lone said.

Indian National Congress, National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, which are at present giving the impression of championing the cause of Article 370 and Article 35-A have been primarily responsible for eroding Article 370 of Constitution of India from time to time. Up to 1953 only such provisions of the Constitution of India were applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1950, which corresponded to the maters specified in the Instrument of Accession governing the accession of the State of J&K to the Dominion of India, reads the note.

It said besides 39 entries of the Union List, on which the Parliament has the exclusive jurisdiction to make laws, were applicable to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

All matters other than these 39 items were within exclusive jurisdiction of J&K State Legislature as Residuary Powers. Concurrent List and the State List were not applicable to the State of J&K, the note says.

However, after 1953, reads the note, the Congress regime gave its concurrence to application of various other provisions of the Constitution of India to the State of J&K and also various entries of the Union List were made applicable extending the legislative jurisdiction of the Parliament over J&K, thus restricting the powers of the State Legislature to make laws for the state.

The Concurrent List was also made applicable to the State of J &K,  thus extending the powers of Parliament to make laws on 47 other items enumerated in the Concurrent List.

Besides out of the total 97 items enumerated in Union List, 94 were made applicable to the state as against 39 items applied initially.

“The erosion of Article 370 of the Constitution of India continued unabated even after the National Conference came to the power in 1975,” the note reads.

The first concurrence given by Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah after assuming power in 1975 was with regard to extension of  Constitution  (Applicable to J &K ) Second Amendment Order , 1975, whereby Article  368 of the Constitution of India was amended to provide that “no law made by the Legislature of the State of J&K seeking to make any change in any provision of the Constitution of J&K relating to the appointment, powers, functions and duties of the Governor, or Superintendence, direction and control of elections by Election Commission of India shall have any effect unless such law has received the assent of the President of India,” it points out.

According to the note circulated during the press conference, this amendment further eroded the powers of the State Legislature in the matter of appointment of Governor in the State and was in line with the 1975 Indira-Sheikh Accord with famous quote of Indira Gandhi that “hands of the clock cannot be turned back.”

Between 1953 and 1986, 42 Constitution Application Orders were extended to the State with the concurrence of Congress and NC-led State governments applying hundreds of provisions of Constitution of India to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

32 of such Application Orders were extended during Congress regime upto 1974 with Late Mufti Mohammad Sayed as the leader of the Congress governments and the remaining 10 were extended during National Conference regime from 1975-1986, the note pointed out.

Besides, 50 other laws made by the Parliament were extended to the State of Jammu and Kashmir by virtue of applying different entries of the Union and Concurrent Lists to the State of J&K during this period, it says.

In the year 2002 during the Mufti Mohammad Sayed led PDP-Congress regime, Section 140 of the Jammu & Kashmir Transfer of the Property Act was amended to allow sale and transfer of the immovable properties in favour of non-permanent resident Financial Institutions and Corporations thus eroding the sanctity of Article 35-A, it revealed.

“Having rendered Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution of India as mere skeletons after erosion of its body and soul from time to time, the NC-PDP-Congress combo is now trying to exploit the people of the State by posing as Messiahs of safeguarding these special provisions when they are the architects of abrogating the special status of the State of J&K over last seven decades,” it said.

Meanwhile, targeting the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), the Congress and the National Conference (NC), People’s Conference chief Sajad Gani Lone Friday said the sole aim of forming the alliance by these parties was to keep a “third front” led by his party out of power.

With former PDP minister and Shia leader Imran Raza Ansari by his side at the presser, Lone said that NC and PDP consider Jammu and Kashmir their “fiefdom” and are thus ‘terribly reluctant’ to the emergence of any other formation.

“I have been questioned for tying up with the BJP. It’s not a crime. The process of joining the BJP bandwagon started with Omar Abdullah, who was a poster boy for the Vajpayee government.

“What about Mehbooba-ji, she was in power for the last three years with the help of the BJP only,” he pointed out.

The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly was abruptly dissolved by the Governor Wednesday night, hours after the PDP staked claim to form a government with the backing of rival NC and Congress. This was followed by another bid from People’s Conference which claimed the support of the BJP and 18 legislators from other parties.

Lone challenged the PDP chief to prove her majority on the floor of the House.

“Has anyone read her letter? I challenge her to take that letter to any lawyer and get relief from court. I am sure she will get relief.

“And (then) I will prove my majority if given a chance,” he said.

Lone said his party has accepted the Governor’s decision and was ready for fresh elections in the state.

“I have not lost my mind. If I staked the claim, (it means) we had the numbers. Imran (Ansari) has come and this is just the beginning. There is long line (of leaders) who will be coming from everywhere (other parties),” he said.

Dismissing the allegations that he was trying to break the political parties to become the chief minister, the People’s Conference chief said, “There was a viewpoint that I was breaking the parties. There is a huge difference between breaking a party and working (doing) what is permissible within (according to) the constitution. I have not written the constitution or enacted the anti-defection law. It was made before we came.

“If the MLAs feel that they are being sold out without being consulted, an opportunistic alliance is being made with those who they fought on the ground and they approach me, I cannot shut my doors on them. If some windfall comes, why should I say ‘no’,” he said.

He added that if the leaders of other parties fail to inspire their MLAs, others should not be blamed for it.

Lone also rebuffed the allegations of using money for government formation and said they were baseless.

“They (PDP and NC) have ruled the state for 50 years. They have the money. Where will we get the money from?” he asked.

In response to another question, Lone said corruption has seeped into the pysche of people in the state and has now gained social acceptance.

“When we go, as a society, for a match (for marriage), people enquire where is he (suitor) posted. Is he posted at a good place (indicating whether he was making good money). Till we don’t stop that, corruption cannot be ended,” he said.

Lone said none of the professions was corruption-free.

“We live in South Asia where corruption is a part of life in every profession including politics, journalism, legal fraternity, doctors and engineers. Like money is made in one (profession), it is done in others too,” he said.

Lone, however, said if he comes to power, those politicians involved in corruption will be investigated.

“If there is anyone who needs to be jailed, he will be jailed. They have fended for each other. I have seen it from inside,” he said.

Lone also said he had witnessed wrongdoers being allowed to get away.

Pitching in, Imran Ansari questioned that how Sheikh dynasty has emerged as billionaires.

“Sheikh sahib (Sheikh Mohd Abdullah) was a teacher. His grandfather hadn’t left fortunes for him. So how come his progeny is playing in crores? Should not you be raising such questions?,” Imran said.

Imran said that PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, was lying when she said she had the support of her 28 MLAs.

“I will not talk about others, though I know there were several others who were not with her, but how could she include me. I was not with her and therefore she was lying,” Imran asserted.

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