New Delhi: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti warned Centre against tinkering of Article 35 A, which provides special rights to natives of the border state. Speaking to reporters, the former J&K CM said that Kashmiris may raise some other flag and not the national tricolour, if Article 35A, is attacked. Also Read - First Priority To Strengthen Grassroots Democracy In J&K, Says PM Modi After Meeting With 14 Leaders
Notably, Mufti’s warning came on a day when the Supreme Court listed for hearing this week a batch of pleas challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A. If reports are to be believed, the crucial hearing could come up on any date from February 26 to February 28. Also Read - PM Modi-J&K Leaders Meet Concludes, Centre Assures Help For Future, Betterment of UT | Top Developments
“I am in contact with (NC president) Omar Abdullah. We should have a strategy so that there is no attack on Article 35A. And if there is an attack, then I do not know which flag, other than the tricolour, would the people of Kashmir bear in hand and if they do so, then do not tell us that we had not warned you (Centre). Do not push the people of J-K to the wall,” Mehbooba told reporters. Also Read - PM Modi's All-Party Meeting on J&K Today; Elections, Delimitation Likely on Agenda | What to Expect
She added,”JK is a Muslim majority state which acceded to India under certain conditions and that condition is Article 370. Unfortunately, whenever there are elections, JK becomes a part of the electioneering. Before the 2014 polls, Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru was sent to gallows.”
Mehbooba, further asserted that the people of J and K would have to resist any tampering with the state’s special status themselves and all the parties, irrespective of their ideologies, would have to come together to defend it.
She also urged all all political parties in the state to devise a joint strategy to save the special status and asked the Centre to not “play with fire” by tampering with Article 35A.
“It is my request that this should not be done and if it is done, then the consequences would be such that the people who bear the flag of India would perhaps not be able to do so. It is my humble submission to the powers in our country, do not play with fire. Its consequences would be grave and something which you have not witnessed since 1947,” she said.
On February 11, the J and K administration had requested the apex court to adjourn the hearing on the pleas on various grounds, including that there was no “elected government” in the state. Earlier, the SC had deferred till January this year the hearing after the Centre and the state said local bodies polls there would go on till December.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to permanent residents of J and K and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state. It also denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state. The provision, which leads to such women from the state forfeiting their right over property, also applies to her heirs.