Less than a week after Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has assured her that Article 35 A will be respected, the Bharatiya Janata Party(BJP) on Monday held the Act responsible for the poor development of the state. Accusing former chief minister Omar Abdullah of making misleading and provocative statements on Article 35A only to cause confusion and mislead people, party’s chief spokesperson in the state Sunil Sethi said,”Because of Article 35 A and state subject laws protected by it, the state could not match rest of the country in progress because of lack of investments.” “Absence of huge industrial infrastructure, hospitality industries, healthcare and educational infrastructure is all because nobody from outside the state is willing to invest when they cannot own property,’’ he pointed out.
Sethi asserted that if investments from other states come to Kashmir, it will help local industry in generating huge employment for youth of the state. “Omar was again wrong and misleading by referring to state subject laws made by former Maharaja of the state and finding justification to continue them, when the state subject laws were made then Jammu and Kashmir was not part of British India and in those times, these were restrictions by one sovereign state on subjects of other sovereign states. However, after J&K became part of India, there is only one Sovereign that is India and within One Sovereign there can’t be iron curtains,’’ the BJP leader added.
Further contradicting Omar Abdullah’s reference to similar laws restricting outsiders from owning land in Himachal Pradesh and Mizoram, Sethi added that anyone can own land other than the agricultural one in Himachal with the permission of the state. Moreover, in Mizoram and Himachal, rights of girls marrying outside and their children are not taken away, he said, adding “In 1947 J&K joining India was akin to river merging in the sea. After river enters sea and join it, the only identity which remains is of sea and river cannot retain its separate identity thereafter.”
Stressing on his point that Omar was making misleading statements deliberately to create confusion among the people, Sethi said that these were only helping separatist ideology. “He should rather work for making India strong with J&K an integral part which is inseparable in any form,” he added.