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Jaitley’s remarks on Article 35-A’s ‘constitutional vulnerability’ provokes angry reactions from NC, PDP, CPI(M)

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J&K not only state with special status: Omar

Srinagar, Mar 29: Former chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday lashed out at the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for making attempts to dilute the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

Addressing a presser in Srinagar, Omar said that the special status of the state guaranteed under Article 35-A of the Constitution has been under threat right from the beginning but after the rightwing BJP come to power the threat of abrogation has increased.

He 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 rightwing 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.

BJP wants to convert constitutional relation between JK and India into occupation: PDP

Srinagar, Mar 29: The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Friday alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was trying to convert the constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India into an "occupation".

"BJP is trying very hard to convert legal and constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion," PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said in a statement here.

Akhtar was reacting to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's blog in which he had stated that Article 35-A was "constitutionally vulnerable".

"It is unfortunate that Sangh Parivar has fielded one of the better known lawyers of the country to oppose the Supreme Court orders which have upheld Article-35-A not once but twice in the past," the former minister said.

It seems the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), considers itself above the apex court, he said.

"That is why Jaitley has chosen to patronisingly pronounce that Article 35-A is constitutionally vulnerable," he said.

Jaitley, perhaps, needs not to be told that the framing and the approval of the Constitution and its development is not an isolated event but it has a political constitutional history behind it, which the RSS and some of their allies in the media try to overlook in pursuit of votes, Akhtar said.

Stating that the Sangh was selectively invoking history, Akhtar said while they were re-opening the files pertaining to the reign of Mughal king Babar in Ayodhya and digging up 500-year-old graves, in J-K's case, they were not willing to have a look at the contemporary history which was an essential part of nation building in South Asia.

"The accession by Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India was perhaps the most exciting experiment in the formation of modern, secular and inclusive nation but unfortunately the Sangh Parivar and its ilk in other parties have from time to time reduced this relationship to an uneasy sufferance," Akhtar said.

He said the accession was degenerated virtually into a forced marriage through repeated letdowns, erosion of authority of the state and deception.

Akhtar said Jaitley should know more than anybody else about the laws of the state and that the Article 35-A was not in anyway a hurdle in investment in the state.

"The state subject and land laws in Jammu and Kashmir have ample room for investment by non-state subjects whether in power sector, tourism, industries or education," he said.

"That is how most of the industrial activity in Jammu is run by non- state subject investors. Similarly, there are joint ventures with top brands in hospitality industry thriving in the state," added the PDP leader.

Akhtar said the constant attempts by the BJP to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir by threatening to do away with this special status has caused a reverse.

"If the BJP is sincere in bringing back peace to the state, it should follow what Vajpayee had done during his tenure in cooperation with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed," he said.

"It is unfortunate that the Sangh Parivar demonises Nehru who was one of the architects of the accession along with Sheikh Abdullah and on the other hand refuse to follow their own Prime Minister Vajpayee in finding a way out of trouble," he added.

Akhtar said that Article 35-A was neither a charity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir nor a concession.

"It is our right because Jammu and Kashmir in spite of having been an overwhelmingly Muslim majority, the state had decided to threw its lot with a secular country which is increasingly refusing to stay secular under BJP," he added.

Jaitley's assertions show BJP's real intentions: Tarigami

Jammu, Mar 29 (PTI) The CPI(M) Friday hit out at Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley's "Article 35-A is constitutionally vulnerable and an impediment to economic development of Jammu and Kashmir" comment, saying the remarks revealed the real intention of the saffron party.

In a blog, the senior BJP leader said Article 35A was "surreptitiously" included by a presidential notification in the Constitution in 1954.

The Article 35A, he said, was neither part of the original Constitution framed by the constituent assembly, nor did it come as a constitutional amendment under Article 368 of the Constitution which requires an approval by two-third majority of both Houses of Parliament.

The Article restricts non-permanent residents to buy property in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Jaitley said Article 35A is constitutionally vulnerable and an impediment to the economic development of Jammu and Kashmir. It reveals the real intentions of the saffron party in relation to special status of the state," senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said.

He said the BJP was "misrepresenting" the Constitution and the state.

"Why don't BJP leaders come out in open and say whatever laws passed by then ruler of the state Maharaja Hari Singh were wrong?" he said.

The Kulgam MLA said if Article 35-A was deleted from the Constitution, accession of the state with the Union of India was liable to be jeopardised.

"Article 35-A is not the only provision in the Constitution of India in its application to the State of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been added by the President by a Presidential Order issued under Article 370 (1)," he added.

At this juncture, the Left leader said, democratic forces, including political parties, intelligentsia and civil society at large should put their heads together, discuss the situation intensively and launch a concerted struggle against this "mischief".

"While doing so caution has to be exercised so that the forces who profess hyper nationalism for political interests should not divide people of the state on regional and communal lines," he said.

Tarigami said the conspiracy to remove Article 35-A was essentially the agenda of "communal, divisive and anti-democratic forces who want to thrive on uncertainty, discard, hatred and turmoil".

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