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Article 370 basis for accession of J&K to India, could not be removed: Omar Abdullah

The statement assumes significance as it has come when the Supreme Court has agreed to consider listing after summer vacation the petitions challenging Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu |
Updated: May 16, 2022 12:52:48 pm
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah. (Express Archive)

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Sunday said Article 370 had been a “temporary” provision in the Constitution, but it could not have been removed as it formed the basis for accession of J&K to India.

“At that time, the resolution was taken to the United Nations Security Council. On the basis of that resolution, Article 370 was not given a permanent status,” he said, while addressing reporters at Surankote on the second day of his tour to Poonch district.

“But thereafter when you say that Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of India and it cannot be disintegrated from it, then you cannot remove that basis on which it had become an integral part of the country,” he added.

However, he refused to enter a debate over the issue, saying the matter was pending before the court. Pointing out that the CJI had agreed to hear the matter after summer vacation, he said: “Let them start hearing and we will place our case before them.”

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The statement assumes significance as it has come when the Supreme Court has agreed to consider listing after summer vacation the petitions challenging Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir. Of the nearly two dozen petitions pending before the Supreme Court, one has been filed by NC Lok Sabha members Mohammad Akbar Lone and Hasnain Masoodi, a retired High Court judge.

Describing bifurcation of erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state into two Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, the NC leader said there had never been such an example of a state being downgraded to a UT. Though UP, Bihar and Andhra Pradesh were bifurcated in the past, those were not made UTs, he added. “This is for the first time that a state was divided into two and both were made UTs,” Omar said, adding: “No one can explain as to why it was done as elections were also not contested over this issue. I would have understood if BJP had said anything about it in its manifesto.”

Omar has been on tour of Pir Panjal region comprising Poonch and Rajouri districts to mobilise support for the NC, especially after the delimitation commission submitted its final report to the Central Government regarding new geographical boundaries of Assembly and Lok Sabha constituencies in J&K. PM Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have already said that Assembly elections in J&K will follow the delimitation of constituencies.

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