SRI NAGAR: Upping the ante on the state’s special status, opposition National Conference (NC) president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah Monday said Article 35-A, which grants special privileges to residents of Jammu and Kashmir, was a non-negotiable article of faith for the people of the state.
“Article 35-A was a non-negotiable article of faith for the people. It is the cornerstone of the state’s prosperity and that of its citizens,” Abdullah said while addressing a party convention in Handwara area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.Abdullah’s NC has launched a public awareness campaign to apprise people of the impact of scrapping Article 35-A. The Supreme Court is hearing a petition challenging the validity 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 assembly elections.
The next hearing of the case will now be held after Diwali.Abdullah, who has been chief minister of the state thrice, said the assault on J&K’s special status was part of a longstanding ideological mission of those quarters, who have always opposed J&K’s political rights and dignity.
“This battle has been forced on the J&K people at a time when all efforts should have been made to initiate a process of reconciliation and healing so that the trust deficit is bridged. At this juncture of unease and uncertainty in the state, the people expected a political initiative that would bring the state back to an era of peace, normalcy and prosperity. Unfortunately, rather than building those bridges of faith, certain organisations and powers are trying hard to dismantle the existing constitutional bridges between J&K and the rest of the country,” he said.
Stating that the need of the hour was for all three regions of the state to remain united and debunk all distortions that are being spread against Article 35-A, Abdullah said Article 35-A was vital and non-negotiable for the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and those trying to divide people on regional and religious lines to further their agenda will have to be defeated.