Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday visited the residence of her political rival and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah with an intention to seek his support to prevent the dilution or abrogation of Article 35 A by the Centre.
Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday visited the residence of her political rival and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah with an intention to seek his support to prevent the dilution or abrogation of Article 35 A by the Centre. This is for the first time when both Mufti and Abdullah have come together for a common cause, showing how protection of Kashmir’s special status has become significantly important for two largest parties of the state. Soon after her meeting with Abdullah, Mufti spoke to The Indian Express, saying, “Dr Abdullah Sahib is the senior most leader of our state and I went to him to seek his guidance and support on the issue of special status of our state which is under serious threat”. She also informed that former CM Omar Abdullah was present in the meeting.
“It is a challenge for all political parties in J&K, who swear by J&K Constitution and the Constitution of India. There is hardly anything left in our special status and if Article 35 A is tampered with, we will cease to exist. It will be a death knell to the mainstream here. We will have nothing to tell our people,’’ the paper quoted her saying further. “We are all together in this,” she added informing about the detailed meeting with the Abdullahs. “I requested him (Farooq) to raise this issue with the leaders in Delhi as well,’’ she said.
Earlier, National Conference working president Omar Abdullah took to Twitter and informed about the meeting. He wrote: “@MehboobaMufti called on @JKNC_ President this evening to discuss the prevailing political situation in the state. It was a cordial meeting,” While speaking to The Indian Express, Omar Abdullah said, “Chief Minster had called on Dr Sahib this evening to discuss the prevailing political situation especially the ways to protect Article 35 A which is the cornerstone of our special status.”
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“We agreed on the need to create a wider consensus among parties to fight this battle together. We cannot afford to have Art 35 A removed,’’ he said. However, PTI sources in the National Conference said the legal challenge mounted on the validity of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution was the main issue behind meeting of the two leaders.
Article 35A, which was added to the Indian Constitution through a Presidential order of 1954, empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define ‘permanent residents’ of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them.