JAMMU: Under attack from the BJP, the opposition National Conference today said it always supported deportation of Rohingya Muslims of Myanmar and Bangladeshi nationals illegally settled in the state.
The party said it, however, would resist with "full might" any attempt to tinker with Article 35A of the Constitution, empowers the Legislative Assembly to determine the issues with regard to permanent residence.
"The BJP is in government at the Centre and in the state and it is intriguing that the party is not taking a call on this sensitive issue (Rohingyas) and is instead generating passions by hoodwinking the people," National Conference provincial president Devender Rana said in a statement here.
Union Minister Jitendra Singh had yesterday questioned the "selective silence" of the National Conference (NC) on the "settlement of Rohingyas, Burmese and Bangladesh nationals" in Jammu and Kashmir.
Hitting out at NC working president Omar Abdullah for raising "a hue and cry" on the issue of Article 35A of the Constitution, Singh said, "Let the discussion start from the settlement of the foreigners who have for the last 10-15 years settled here without any reason."
"It was the National Conference-Congress government at that time. What is the stand of this political party, which maintains selective silence on the settlement of Rohingyas, Burmese and Bangladesh nationals, but raises hue and cry over the settlement of Indian nationals? That means it is mala fide intention," Singh told reporters.
Reacting to Singh's statement, Rana said the National Conference leadership had time and again sought repatriation of illegal Rohingyas.
He said that mixing the issue of settlement of Rohingya refugees with Article 35A "reveals and reflects the weak stand of the BJP".
He alleged that the BJP was using the issue of Rohingyas as "diversionary tactics".
Rana said the BJP should do some "introspection rather than indulging in anti-Jammu machinations".