Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday warned against any tinkering with Article 35(A) of the constitution that is being debated in the Supreme Court and which empowers the state legislature to define "permanent residents" and accord special rights and privileges to them.
If special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir are tinkered with, then there would be no one in the state to hold the tricolour, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today warned. She said, on the one hand, “we talk about resolving the Kashmir issue under the framework of the Constitution and on the other hand we flog it”. “Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? (challenging the Article 35A). Let me tell you that my party and other parties who carry the national flag there (in Jammu and Kashmir) despite all risks… I have no doubt in saying that there will be no one to hold it (national flag) (if it is tinkered),” she said at an event here. Mehbooba went on to add, “Let me be very clear. By doing all this (challenging Article 35A), you are not targeting the separatists. Their (separatists) agenda is different and it is totally secessionist.”
“But, you are weakening those powers which are Indian and trust India and participate in elections and who fight to live a life honourably in Jammu and Kashmir. This is one of the problem,” she said. In 2014, an NGO had filed a writ petition seeking the striking down of Article 35 A. The case is pending in the Supreme Court. Mehbooba said Kashmir is an idea of India. “The basic question is how much is the idea of India ready to accommodate the idea of Kashmir? This is the basic crux,” she said. She recounted how during Partition, Kashmir, even being a Muslim majority state defied the two-nation theory and the divisive separation on grounds of religion and aligned with India. “There have been special provisions in the Constitution of India for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately, with the passage of time something happened somewhere that both sides started doing dishonesty.”
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Both the sides, she said while indicating towards the Centre and the state, may be became more greedy and the state had to suffer for the last 70 years. “Rather than addressing the problem, we took administrative measures like dismissal of government or making charges of conspiracy, sedition…we had all these things against separatists which at times led to their hangings, weapons exclusive to Kashmir and more security measures and increasing number of security people. “These administrative measures have not helped us to address the idea of Kashmir…,” Mufti said.