A day after Union Minister Arun Jaitley questioned the constitutional validity of Article 35A, former chief minister Omar Abdullah said Friday that Jammu and Kashmir is part of India “based on this special status”.
Jaitley on Thursday had said that Article 35A is “constitutionally vulnerable” and has been “hurting” the interests of common people by blocking the economic development of J&K.
Addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Friday, Abdullah — also the National Conference vice-president — said, “Accession (of J&K to India) was done as part of a negotiated settlement that allowed the state powers over all matters barring currency, communication, defence, and foreign affairs. Nowhere does to state that this is time-bound. It is straightforward — till J&K is part of this country, it will hold it’s special position.”
Cautioning the BJP and its leadership against raising questions against the validity of Article 35A and Article 370, Abdullah stated that if Articles 370 and 35A are to be debated afresh, “then I’m sorry, but questions will be raised on Accession as well. Accession was done on these terms and conditions”.
Abdullah also said that if the Narendra Modi government had succeeded in creating an atmosphere of peace in the state, the economy would not be in this condition. “The BJP’s appointed Governor, sitting in the Raj Bhawan, speaks of an economic boycott of the state….At the time, no BJP leader told the Governor (that) calling for economic boycott is outside the realm of the constitution and the law. Now, they speak of law,” the former CM said.
The PDP too denounced Jaitley’s assertions with regards to Article 35A. Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said the BJP is trying to convert constitutional relationship between J&K and the Union “into an occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion.”
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 Sangh Parivar and some of their allies in the media try to overlook in pursuit of votes.”
He also said that it was “unfortunate that the 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”.