J&K: National Conference (NC) party Chairman Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday announced that it will not participate in the Panchayat elections unless the conflict regarding Article 35 A is resolved. NC chief Abdullah said that until the Centre and the state government cleared its stand with regard to Article 35 A and took concrete steps for the protection of the same inside the court. Also Read - Farooq Abdullah Calls New Domicile Law For J-K ‘Unconstitutional’, Says it is Not Acceptable at All
“The core group (of NC) unanimously decided that the National Conference will not participate in these elections unless and until the government of India and the state government clarify their positions in this regard and take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A in and outside the courts,” Abdullah said after the meeting here. Also Read - 'Your Call Will Strengthen India', PM Modi Lauds Omar Abdullah For Avoiding Gathering on Uncle's Demise
He said the decision of the state administration to hold urban local body polls and panchayat elections was taken in a “hurried manner” and without taking into consideration the prevailing situation “created by the powers that be by unnecessarily fiddling with Article 35-A”. Also Read - 'Fighting War of Life And Death', Says Omar Abdullah After Walking Out of Detention
The state government last week announced the schedule for holding elections to local bodies and panchayats in the state. While the urban local body polls are slated for the first week of October, the Panchayat elections are scheduled to be held in November-December this year.
Abdullah said the core group had a detailed discussion about prevailing situation in the state with particular reference to Article 35-A of the Constitution. “It was felt that any tinkering with Article 35-A would prove disastrous not only for our state but for the entire country”.
He said the stands of the central government and the present dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir before the Supreme Court goes “clearly against the wishes and aspirations of the people of the state.
“They conveniently ignore that this provision was incorporated in the Constitution after thorough discussion between the then state government and the Government of India and was made part of the Delhi Agreement 1952,” he said.
“It was also approved by the state’s constituent assembly as envisaged under article 370 of the Constitution,” he said.
Abdullah said the core group resolved that J&K National Conference would fight tooth and nail all “sinister” attempts aimed at interfering with this constitutional guarantee. “Such attempts, if allowed, shall strike at the very basis of the relationship between the state and the Union,” he said.
The Supreme Court (SC) had earlier adjourned the hearing on a number of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35 A to next year for the month of January, that gives special rights and privileges to natives of J&K. The apex court took deferred the hearing after taking cognisance of the law and order problem in the state and also the impending eight-phased local body elections which are to be held. A bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra was informed of the adjournment in the case by Attorney General KK Venugopal and Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government respectively.
The same day, prior to SC adjourning the pleas on Article 35 A, a delegation of the Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee (JKPCC) called on Governor SP Malik and urged him to utilise all resources to protect Article 35 A of the Constitution which is facing a legal challenge in the apex court. The delegation had met the governor at the Raj Bhavan and held discussions on the overall socio-political and the prevailing security scenario in the state. JKPCC President GA Mir had then addressed various issues of public importance.
Article 35 A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir 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 their heirs.