Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday warned of a “far greater revolt” than the 2008 Amarnath land agitation if the Article 35A that allows the state’s legislature to define the state’s permanent residents is tinkered with.
“This issue has the potential to further deteriorate the situation in our state and the government of India will be squarely responsible for that,” warned Abdullah after an opposition parties’ meet to discuss the Centre’s position before the Supreme Court on the Article. “The Amarnath land row agitation in 2008 was nothing compared to the explosive repercussions it is bound to create in the state.’’
Abdullah called the Centre’s position a BJP-RSS conspiracy to erode the state’s special status for demographic change. He urged opposition parties to unite to thwart any such move. “…you all know that the agenda of BJP and RSS is basically to erode the autonomous structure of this state,’’ he said. “With the way things are moving at the Centre vis-a-vis Jammu Kashmir’s special status, it seems a clear cut case of demographic change is in the making.’’
Abdullah called upon the country’s “like-minded and well intentioned forces” to join hands to help stop “this RSS aggression”. “The BJP and RSS are working overtime to attack the autonomous nature of our state.” Abdullah said that the State Subject Law is for the state’s welfare and is equally important for the Jammu and Kashmir’s three regions. He insisted that it should not be given a regional colour.
“It is not just a Kashmir-centric issue as some are trying to project it as,” said Abdullah. He added that the Article 35A is as important for Kashmiris as it is for people in Jammu and Ladakh. “It was Maharaja Hari Singh who in 1927 had brought in the ownership laws of the state for welfare of state subjects.” Abdullah hoped that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti will keep her promise and quit if the Article is removed.
National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah questioned the Centre’s stand of a “larger debate” on the issue. He said that questioning the state’s special status will put a question mark on its accession to India.
Earlier, NC, Congress, Peoples Democratic Front, CPI(M) and Democratic Nationalist Party representatives attended the meet at Abdullah’s residence in Srinagar.