SRINAGAR: A day after J&K’s former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference president Farooq Abdullah warned of severe consequences if Article 35-A was abrogated, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti Tuesday met Abdullah while the State BJP said the saffron party is not seek its abrogation.
National Conference working president and former CM Omar Abdullah tweeted that CM Mehbooba Mufti today called on Farooq Abdullah at his residence this evening amid debate on an article in the Constitution, which grants special privileges to the state.
He said it was a cordial meeting and a significant part of the meeting was taken up discussing ways to protect Article 35-A.
“Farooq suggested that Mehbooba consult other parties,” Omar said.
Farooq after chairing a meeting of opposition leaders at his residence, here yesterday, had said, “If Article 35-A is abrogated, it has the potential to further deteriorate the situation in J&K. The 2008 Amarnath land row agitation was nothing as compared to the explosive repercussions it is bound to create in the state. The abrogation of Article 35-A will threaten the State’s existence”.
Earlier, this month, Mehbooba had said in national capital that if Article 35A was tinkered with, there will be no one in Kashmir to uphold the tricolour.
In 2014, an NGO had filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking the striking down of Article 35-A, which confers special rights and privileges on permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting a government job or voting in State Assembly elections.
Meanwhile, J&K BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi told New Indian Express that BJP has no intention of changing Article 35-A or Article 370 till we have Agenda of Alliance in Jammu and Kashmir.
“We are committed to Agenda of Alliance which has made it clear that the stated constitutional positions will be maintained,” he said.
The PDP and BJP, which formed coalition government in the State after 2014 hung Assembly elections, have framed common minimum programme “Agenda of Alliance” for running the coalition government.
Sethi said BJP is not making any effort to change Article 35-A or Article 370 at present.
“There has been no effort from central government or BJP to change it,” he asserted.
Sethi said somebody has filed a petition in Supreme Court and the state government is opposing it. “It is a matter before the apex court and it has nothing to do with the BJP”.
When told that the group that has filed the petition is linked to RSS, he said, “The individual person, who has filed the petition, has got no affiliation with RSS or BJP”.
According to him, If NC or Congress think that filing of petition is going to alter the position and if they think that constitutionally the position cannot be altered, they should become a party to the petition in the apex court.
He said Supreme Court would decide only after hearing the parties. “The SC is not bound by decisions of central government or any other person”.
“Our position is clear. Even as we principally believe that Article 35-A should go but till we are in alliance with PDP in J&K, we would not seek its abrogation,” Sethi said.
He, however, said if SC decides its abrogation, then the party cannot stop the court.
The separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik are also opposed to abrogation of Article 35-A and have called for shutdown on August 12.