JAMMU, Aug 14: National Conference working president and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah today said that revocation of Article 35-A of the Constitution will bring end to the State Subject law in the Jammu and Kashmir and it will have the serious repercussions for the people of this State.
Talking to media persons at the sidelines of the party convention on Art 35-A at NC Bhawan here today, Omar said the people behind the revocation of Article 35-A are not well aware of the dangerous consequences of it. “If this Article was revoked, the State Subject Law would cease to exist in the State. The special protection given by the then Maharaja of the State would be abolished and Jammu will be the prime target followed by the Kashmir and Ladakh regions”.
Omar said both BJP and PDP are playing communal and most dangerous game by raking up such controversial issues. The situation has not improved yet in Kashmir and this Government has again created a space for another round of turmoil in the State over Article 35-A.
Replying to a question, Omar said National Conference has its own clear stand on this issue. “ Our party has nothing to do with Hurriyat. They ( Hurriayat) do not recognise the Indian Constitution. So, it hardly matters to them. Whether an Article is revoked or invoked, they have nothing to do with it. During the implementation of GST also they had enacted a drama. The people know them very well ,” Omar maintained.
“When asked about gender discrimination especially with reference to the right of his sisters on ancestral property, Omar said, “My sisters have the equal right on our ancestral property as much as I have. The law does not allow any sex or gender discrimination. Some people are in the habit of raising non-issues and creating controversies,” Omar said.
On the issue of role of BJP with regard to filing a case in the Apex court by an NGO over 35-A and assurance given to CM by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Omar said BJP was trying to engineer a regional divide in the State over Article 35-A of the Constitution. If the so-called assurance given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was true, why a counter affidavit hadn’t been presented before the Supreme Court of India by the Centre to defend Article 35-A.
“Instead of defending this Article, the Attorney General pitched for a larger debate on Article 35A”, Omar said
On the plea of some BJP leaders that there will be huge influx of top industrialists in J&K with the revocation of Art 35 A, Omar said, it was just a white lie and unjustified reason projected by some people. He said during last more than 15 years, huge investment from outside the State has been witnessed at Samba, Kathua and Bari Brahmana. Are they not aware of it ?
Earlier, while addressing a day-long party convention of District and Block presidents of Jammu province besides senior functionaries of various wings at NC Bhawan here, Omar said BJP and PDP are playing a dangerous game in the State by raking up such issues. He said to divert the attention of the public from the basic issues and cover up their failures, they are raising such controversial issues.
Omar questioned the professionalism and seriousness of the response of the PDP-BJP Government to this serious and sensitive issue and said the State’s counter affidavit has been condensed to just eleven pages, which speaks of the seriousness accorded to it. The affidavit, he said, for some odd reasons is reported to be without any substance or any depth and worryingly the State Government is putting up a weak case, perhaps intentionally so. He said the preliminary affidavit actually contained nearly 70 pages but the State Government didn’t allow this to be filed in the Apex Court and instead preferred a brief, token counter response – which was worrisome and raised a red-flag on the role being played by the PDP-BJP Government.
“All this is being done under an elaborate conspiracy to rob J&K of its Special Status and rights”, Omar said and urged the people to unitedly fight this conspiracy and foil the attempts being made to trample the Constitutional guarantees available to the State.
The NC leader also questioned the intention of the BJP and said whenever the situation turns against their anti-J&K strategies, they come up with sinister new agendas. He expressed surprise over singling out of Jammu and Kashmir in respect of the special provisions related to State Subject Laws notwithstanding the fact that several other states like Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern States, Lakshadweep etc were having almost similar laws regarding ownership of land and definition of domicile regulations, etc.
He said the BJP has been hell-bent to tramper the special status of Jammu and Kashmir for a long time, which was incidentally their election plank in 2014. “But once they came to power, BJP realized that their designs cannot be achieved politically and therefore a short cut of proxy judicial activism through various affiliated NGOs has been initiated by clandestinely challenging the Article 35A through a ‘Mukhota”, he added.
While referring to the designs of the BJP in attacking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar made a mention of the recent implementation of GST, and said this act too, had deprived the State of its right to impose taxes. “We have now seen with distress our Chief Minister rushing to the Centre to seek tax concessions for various crucial sectors for the State such as horticulture and tourism with the GST Council in turn paying little attention”, he added.
Cautioning the people about the consequences of repealing Article 35A, Omar said Jammu will be worst hit before such repercussions are felt in the Valley. Not only will jobs squeeze for local youth but our business sector too shall suffer tremors with influx of traders from outside the State, he said, adding that the local land owners will be deprived of their holdings. “Whosoever intends to turn up in Jammu and Kashmir and push local businesses out of competition will find the Jammu region feasible because of its close proximity to the neighbouring states apart from the relatively more conducive security scenario”, he said and urged the people of Jammu to guard the State and their own interests against these sinister machinations of abrogating this Article.
“If Article 35A is repealed, we will traverse back to the unfortunate era of indignity, deprivation and oppression where Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah had steered out the people of the State”, he said and lauded the farsightedness of Maharaja Hari Singh in bringing the State Subject Laws into effect in 1927. He said the Maharaja had brought these laws into effect to save the interests of those locals holding land and finding representation in the state administration as there were apprehensions of non-state subjects usurping the locals. He said the laws enacted 90 years ago have withstood the test of time in preserving the identity of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh besides preserving their legitimate rights.
“In case the Article 35A is scrapped, it will cause enormous and irrevocable damage to the interests of the people of the three regions, irrespective of their caste and religion”, he said and urged the National Conference cadre to generate awareness among the people about the adverse consequences of the abrogation of Article 35A.
Former minister Abdul Rahim Rather, Ali Mohd Sagar, Provincial president Devender Singh Rana, former ministers Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, Surjeet Singh Slathia, Sayed Mushtaq Bukhari besides Th Kashmira Singh and Khalid Najeeb Suharwardhy also spoke on the occasion.