NC, PDP caution Centre ahead of Article 35A SC hearing

Srinagar, Feb 25 (IANS): | Publish Date: 2/26/2019 12:00:00 AM IST

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday urged the central government to look at the situation in Arunachal Pradesh before trying to tinker with Article 35A.

Article 35A of the Constitution empowers the J&K legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to them.
Addressing party workers here, Omar said, “It is my duty to caution people about the situation in the state.”
“There is no militancy in Arunachal Pradesh but during the present unrest there, people didn’t even spare the house of the Deputy Chief Minister.
“I am not threatening the Centre. Please don’t hashtag me in television debates in the evening saying ‘Omar threatens India’. I only want to voice my understanding of the situation here, which is surcharged,” Abdullah said. 
“Please leave the contentious issues for the elected government in the state that would have representation from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. Your duty is to hold elections in the state and please address that issue as top priority,” he said.
Arunachal Pradesh witnessed widespread violence for three days, starting Friday, over the Joint High Power Committee’s (JHPC) recommendation granting permanent resident certificates (PRCs) to six communities, not natives of the state but living in Namsai and Changlang districts for decades.
The Arunachal Pradesh government on Sunday had to freeze its decision on PRCs that triggered the violence.
Meanwhile former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that if Article 35A is nullified then nobody would be available to lift the national flag in Kashmir.
Addressing a media conference here, Mufti said: “If Article 35A is nullified, I fear there would be nobody to lift the national flag in Kashmir. Please don’t play with fire. There has been lot of disinformation about this article in the rest of the country. 
“Jammu and Kashmir is a Muslim-majority state which acceded to India under certain conditions.
“These conditions are there to preserve the Muslim-majority status of the state. Any fiddling with Article 35A, which is part of Article 370, would nullify the state’s accession with India.”
She said people are grateful to the Supreme Court that came down heavily when reports appeared about attacks on Kashmiri students outside the state.
She said pressure was mounted on her with regard to Article 35A during the PDP-BJP ruling coalition in 2016.
“We did not compromise on this issue because we believe that abrogation of Article 35A would end the constitutional relationship of J&K with the rest of country,” she said.


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