After former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah raised fears that scrapping Article 35(A) would take away jobs and scholarships of children in Jammu and Kashmir, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday said that the National Conference (NC) leader is making such statements to sensitise and communalise the issue and to mislead the people of the Valley. Speaking to ANI, BJP leader Zafar Islam said that Omar Abdullah, his father Farooq Abdullah and his grandfather Sheikh Abdullah have always worked for their own interest and never even have they prioritized the interest of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I think Mr Oman Abdullah, his father and his grandfather always want to safe guard their interest and that is what their politics to Jammu and Kashmir is. Today, what he is attempting by making such statements is just to sensitise the issue, communalise the issue and mislead the people of Jammu and Kashmir because he is fully aware that National Conference and the Congress have worked for their own interest. Never even have they prioritized the interest of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said. The BJP leader further said that this kind of misleading attitude will not work anymore because there is a party (BJP) which works for the people of Jammu and Kashmir and for the interest of the state.
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“Even today they are misleading the people of Jammu and Kashmir….BJP will always endevour that we are protecting the interest of Jammu and Kashmir unlike the NC and the Congress,” he added. Amid reports of the alleged abolition of Article 35 (A) of the Constitution, Omar Abdullah urged that this would lead to the end of state subject laws in Jammu and Kashmir. “Provisions which are stated under article 35 (A) were initiated by Raja Hari Singh. If this is scrapped by the Supreme Court, it will end state subject laws. People from other states will gain access to buy property in the region, avail educational scholarships for their children, relief material and bag government jobs; the four main things that Raja Hari Singh protected us from,” said Abdullah.
Alleging conspiracy by the ruling BJP-PDP coalition, Abdullah claimed that the BJP has constantly batted for the removal of Article 35 (A), and has attempted to suppress any opposition arising against the same. “The BJP has been on our case ever since we spoke of Article 35 (A). We have never encouraged bloodshed, but we refuse to fall prey to their conspiracy. Nobody should be carried away in their propaganda,” he said. “Surprisingly, the BJP made an issue of 35A as a case of Jammu versus Kashmir. They say it will benefit Kashmir but adversely affect Jammu. Nobody is going to benefit from the removal of 35 (A),” added Abdullah.
For the unversed, Article 35A of the Constitution empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to define the state’s permanent residents and their privileges. Article 35A was inserted into the Constitution of India through a presidential order in 1954, to guarantee that the maharaja’s ban on outsiders would remain. It actually makes little difference in practical terms, for domicile rights apply in other states too. Meanwhile, Article 370 of the Indian constitution grants special autonomous status to the state of Jammu and Kashmir.