JAMMU, Aug 12: Describing Article 35A as constitutional guarantee to the interests of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in general and the permanent residents of Jammu in particular, National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana today accused the BJP for putting a weak defence to defend this proviso.
“Those crying hoarse over this Article being against the interests of Dogras need to carry out a referendum across Jammu, at least, to find out the will of the people in this regard”, Rana said at a press conference held at Sher-e- Kashmir Bhavan here this morning.
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He said the larger debate sought by the Attorney General in the Apex Court over Article 35A and provocative statements by the BJP leadership, together with weak defence for continuation of this proviso by the PDP led Government is causing grave concern and apprehensions in the public mind.
“The overt and covert attempts of repealing this constitutional guarantee has put the State at cross roads of history”, he said, adding that tampering with Article 35A will render the Article 370 hollow.
He said abrogation of Article 35A will be economically detrimental to the people of Jammu in particular, as youth will be deprived of jobs and the local business community will suffer due to influx of big business houses and traders from outside the State. He lamented that Jammu and Kashmir is being singled out just to satiate the peculiar agenda of BJP.
“In this unholy pursuit, the PDP has volunteered to be a facilitator in order to weaken Article 370 and 35A”, he said and cautioned that National Conference will not allow it to happen, as it will mean trampling of the constitutional guarantee held out to the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. He said any attempt to weaken Article 35 A will be detrimental, not only to particular region or community, but the people of all faiths, regions and sub-regions of Jammu and Kashmir.
He questioned the voices in favour of abrogating Article 35A and wondered why these are silent over unique status being enjoyed by Nagaland, Mizoram, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Andhra Pradesh, Goa etc as per various sub sections (A to G) of Article 371.
Rana said that BJP’s consistent tirade against Article 35A gives rise to apprehensions about clandestine deal reached with some people with vested interest, who want to strengthen their hegemony in Jammu.
To a question about the claim of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti about the Prime Minister having given ‘100 per cent’ assurance on the safeguard of Article 370 and Article 35A, Rana said that if true then the people of Jammu and Kashmir should be reassured about the sanctity of these special provisions. “If true, this means that the Prime Minister is understanding and appreciating the genuine concerns and aspirations of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh”, he said, adding that this being so, the local BJP leadership should stop indulging in rabble rousing.
Advising the BJP to stop playing politics and shun its myopic approach towards Article 35A, Devender Singh Rana asked the party to take corrective measures in ending discrimination with the Jammu region instead that has been unleashed in the past over two and half years. He said the people are very angry over non-performance of the BJP.
He cited the selections made by the Public Service Commission as the worse example of discrimination and said instead of course correction, the BJP was indulging in hoodwinking public opinion on Article 35A.
“The sagacious people of Jammu are conscious about the significance of Article 35A for their identity and existence and therefore they will offer any sacrifice to preserve this proviso”, the Provincial President declared.