August 2018 News

If Article 35A Is Touched, Kashmir Would Be Difficult To Manage: Farooq

11 August 2018
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Saturday warned New Delhi that should it think of doing away with Article 35A, it would see for itself how Kashmir would become difficult for it to manage. He was speaking to the press at a ceremonial function to swear-in Gital Mittal as the new Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir High Court. Abdullah said that nobody could touch Article 35A, 'If this Article is touched, Delhi will see for itself what will happen. It will be difficult for them to control situation in state,' he said. Abdullah said that on two occasions attempts had been made to challenge the Article 35A. But, he said the constitution bench of the Supreme Court settled the case in favor of J&K on both occasions. 'I don't understand why they are time and again trying to scratch wounds. The more they will scratch these wound it will bleed more. Time has come they should stop this all,' said Abdullah. He said Article 35A like constitutional provisions were in vogue in other states as well including Assam, Himachal Pradesh and Nagaland. 'They don't remember it. They only thing they remember is Kashmir,' said Abdullah. Article 35A empowers J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state. This provision was added to the constitution through the Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954, issued by the country's first president Rajendra Prasad on May 14, 1954, in exercise of the powers conferred by clause (1) of Article 370. The J&K constitution, which was adopted on 17 November 1956, defined a permanent resident as a person who was born or settled in the state before May 14, 1954, or who has been a resident of the state for 10 years and has lawfully acquired immovable property in the state. In 2014, an NGO 'We the Citizens, backed by right wing parties, filed a petition in the apex court seeking that the Article should be abrogated, arguing it was 'unconstitutional' and approved without any debate in Parliament. If the provision is done away with, J&K citizens will lose all exclusive privileges including state subject law, right to property, right to employment and right to settlement. 'I will continue to fight for the protection of this Article till my death,' asserted Abdullah. While the Supreme Court is scheduled to hear the petition in the week commencing August 27, people in Kashmir and several other parts of state have been up in arms against any tinkering with the constitutional provision. Separatists, mainstream parties and trade and business organisation have vociferously sought protection of the Article. In the meantime, Abdullah congratulated Justice Mittal for taking over as the new chief justice of the state.' We expect she will give justice to people of the state,' Abdullah said. The NC leader said he expected Pakistan to prosper under the new Prime Minister Imran Khan. 'We expect it will be a new and happy Pakistan, free of terrorism and developing towards future. I am sure New Delhi will cooperate with them if Pakistan gives up terrorism. In fact the whole world will cooperate with them,' said Abdullah. He said India was a 'secular and large hearted country' and people from anywhere can live in the country peacefully, responding to a question about the issue of Rohingayas in different states of India. Abdullah refused to take question on reports about the possibility of a new government formation in J&K. But he said National Conference was ready for elections. Abdullah said when Mahatma Gandhi had offered Prime Minister's post to Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the later declined it. 'Jinnah sahab declined the offer saying 'today you will make me the Prime Minister but tomorrow you will topple my government as majority is with you',' Abdullah said. 'Jinnah sahab told them a moth-eaten Pakistan was better than becoming Prime Minister of the country where there is no trust. Today he is being proven right. Today there are attempts being made to change secular character of this country which is dangerous,' said Abdullah.