Mehbooba hopeful SC would dismiss petition challenging Article 35-A of constitution

Mufti made it clear that political ideologies will not be a hindrance if there is a threat to the special status of J&K and said that she had followed Farooq Abdullah's "fatherly advice" on the issue.

Published: 15th August 2017 01:40 PM  |   Last Updated: 15th August 2017 06:45 PM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti speaks during the party’s 18th foundation day in Srinagar on Saturday | PTI

Express News Service

SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday said people of the State have full faith in every institution of the country and expressed hope that the Supreme Court would dismiss a petition challenging Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special privileges to residents of the State.

“Our parliament and our constitution have decided that J&K is a special and it is different from other states. Since, the State has different culture, it was granted special status within the Indian constitution,” Mehbooba said in her Independence Day address at the fortified Bakshi stadium, here.

Three-tier security apparatus was put in place around the Stadium and mobile and internet services were snapped for smooth and peaceful conduct of I-Day function.

Mehbooba said over the years, Delhi committed “some mistakes and some mistakes were also committed by us due to which State is facing violence since last 30 years.”

She said J&K is the crown of India and there is no doubt in it. “It has to remain the crown of India”.

The CM asserted that people of the State have full faith in every institution of the country.

Referring to petition in Supreme Court challenging Article 35-A of the constitution, Mehbooba said, “We have seen attempts by some people, who want to take us back to 1947.  Many attempts were made in the past when people moved Supreme Court on one pretext or court seeking abrogation of special status of the State”.

“However, we have full faith in the Supreme Court, which has dismissed petitions challenging the special status of J&K in the past. I hope the apex court would dismiss the petition as has been the case in the past,” she said.

The apex court is hearing a petition filed by NGO Jammu Kashmir Study Centre allegedly linked to RSS in 2014. The petition seeks 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.

The apex court on Monday indicated that if Article 35-A violates the basic structure of Constitution or if it is ultra vires, the issue may be dealt with by a five-judge constitution bench.

Mehbooba said all parties in the State were united on the special status of the State.

“We are all together if anybody tries to harm the special status of J&K. Fight for power or politics is a separate issue but there is no division among us when it comes to special status of the state,” she asserted.

Mehbooba thanked former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference president Farooq Abdullah for allowing her to meet him and guiding her like her father.

“I told Farooq that someone had knocked the doors of Supreme Court again and they have tried again to harm special status of the State. I am happy that he listened to me like an affectionate father and gave me valuable suggestions, which I followed,” she said.

The opposition parties including National Conference and Congress and Valley-based independent legislators, traders, civil society members and lawyers have opposed any move to abrogate Article 35-A warning it would lead to severe consequences in the State.

The separatist leaders Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Mohammad Yasin Malik, who spearheaded over five month long unrest in the Valley last year after killing of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in an encounter with security forces on July 8, 2016, have also opposed abrogating Article 35-A of the constitution.

On their call, Kashmir observed complete shutdown against attempts to abrogate Article 35-A on August 12.

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