August 2017 News

CM: 370 Article Of Faith, Won't Be Fiddled With

11 August 2017
The Tribune (Chandigarh)
Ravi S Singh

New Delhi: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi had given '100 per cent' assurance that he would back the PDP-BJP government's 'Agenda of Alliance', which says that the status of Article 370 can't be 'fiddled with'. She, however, evaded a direct reply on whether the PM had given an assurance on safeguarding the constitutional status quo for the state. A worried Mehbooba had yesterday met Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in view of the flared-up sentiments in the Valley over a pending PIL in the Supreme Court seeking that Article 35A be struck down. The provision grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir. It vests the Assembly with special powers to define 'permanent residents' and determine their rights and privileges. While the state government contested the petition, the Centre recently expressed its reservations. Home Ministry officials yesterday said its law officers would be presenting legal aspects related to Article 35A only and would refrain from joining the case, even as state BJP's Virendra Gupta demanded that Articles 370 and 35A, that created a 'separatist psyche', be abrogated. Talking to mediapersons, Mehbooba said she had told the PM that status quo on Article 370 and special status to J&K formed the core of the agreement between the PDP and the BJP. She pointed out that although a Muslim-majority state, J&K had preferred to stay with India. 'Unfortunately, when it's returning to normalcy, controversial issues are being raked, which could push it back into turmoil,' she warned.