A day after Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley questioned the constitutional validity of Article 35A, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Friday accused the BJP of trying to convert the “constitutional relationship” between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an “occupation.”
“BJP is trying very hard to convert the legal and constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion. 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 35A not once, but twice in the past,” senior PDP leader and former J-K minister Naeem Akhtar said in a statement on Friday.
Akhtar said that “it seems the Sangh Parivar considers itself above the Supreme Court and that is why Mr Jaitley has chosen to patronisingly pronounce that Article 35A is constitutionally vulnerable.”
“The accession has degenerated virtually into a forced marriage through repeated letdowns, erosion of authority of the state and deception,” the PDP leader said.
Akhtar also said that the saffron party has already in the past nine months, since the collapse of the government in the state, done enough in Jammu and Kashmir to marginalise the majority of the population as they have done with 20 crore Muslims of the country by squeezing them out of the power structure. “They are behaving in Jammu and Kashmir as the British would do in their empire or Italians would do in Libya. This is a dangerous trend but it looks that the government in Delhi is trying to convert Jammu and Kashmir, especially the Valley, into an in-house punching bag and a low-cost enemy which they can defeat every day and tell their followers in the rest of the country that they are avenging the 800-year old history of Muslim rule on the sub-continent,” he said.
The former J&K minister also said that “Article 35A is neither a charity to the people of the state nor a concession”. “It is our right because Jammu and Kashmir, in spite of having been an overwhelmingly Muslim majority state, had decided to through its lot with a secular country which is increasingly refusing to stay secular under BJP,” Akhtar said.
Maintaining that Article 35A was “surreptitiously included by a Presidential notification”, Jaitley wrote in a blog on Thursday: “Article 35A, which is constitutionally vulnerable, is used as a political shield by many but it hurt the common citizen of the state the most. It denied them a booming economy, economic activity and jobs.”