Srinagar: After addressing a similar meet in Jammu in the morning, National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah on Monday addressed a Party Workshop and Meeting held at Party Head Office, Nawa-e-Subha in Srinagar later in the afternoon to discuss the current onslaught on Article 35A and the State’s Special Status and asked Party Legislators and Functionaries to inform the people of these intrigues and the adverse repercussions of such a step for all the three regions of the State.
Addressing the convention at Nawa-e-Subha in Srinagar, the NC Working President lashed out at the PDP for surrendering the State’s political identity and rights to remain in power. “While in their ‘Agenda of the Alliance’, PDP promised the people that it had managed to get BJP to agree to a ‘status-quo’ on the State’s Special Status, the BJP has in reality left no stone unturned to rob the State of its Constitutionally Guaranteed Special Status. BJP has openly called for not only the repeal of Article 35A but also the abrogation of Article 370. Mehbooba Mufti’s one-day dashes to New Delhi and her lies about ‘assurances’ from the PM cannot absolve her of her complicity in this conspiracy. PDP is playing an active and critical part in this machination. They cannot continue to govern with the BJP and oppose its policies at the same time. This never-ending drama of the PDP cannot fool anyone anymore”, Omar Abdullah said in a statement.
The Working President 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.
“On its part, instead of defending this Article, the Central Government through the Attorney General pitched for a larger debate on Article 35A”, Omar Abdullah said while inaugurating and addressing a day-long convention of District and Block Presidents of Jammu Province besides senior functionaries of various wings at Nawa-e-Subha this afternoon.
“Why isn’t the Central Government formally defending Article 35A in the Supreme Court as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and as a custodian of the Constitution of India?”, he asked.
The conventions held in Jammu and Srinagar today are a part of a series of workshops and meetings initiated by the National Conference across the State for mobolising public opinion over this crucial issue.
“All this is being done under an elaborate conspiracy to rob J&K of its Special Status and rights”, Omar Abdullah said and urged the people to unite in fighting this conspiracy and foil the attempts being made to trample the constitutional guarantees available to the State.
“What happened to the ‘assurance’ the PM had allegedly given you Mehbooba Ji? Today the BJP has only increased the sharpness of its pitch against 35A and Article 370.
The Working President 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 trample 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.
Referring to the designs of the BJP in attacking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah 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 Abdullah said not only would 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”.
“If Article 35A is repealed, we will traverse back to the unfortunate era of indignity, deprivation and oppression where Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdulah 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.
“If 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.
Omar Abdullah decried the hue and cry by PDP and BJP over vociferous and genuine opposition of National Conference against attempts being made to do away with Article 35A and said the party will fight these moves tooth and nail. “Both BJP and PDP should understand that National Conference is a stakeholder in all the three regions of the State and will fight for the rights of our people”, he added.
Apart from JKNC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar, the workshop and convention was also addressed by Additional General Secretary Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani, former Ministers Mohammad Shafi Uri, Chowdhary Mohammad Ramzaan, Mir Saifullah, Sakina Itoo, Provincial President women’s wing Shamima Firdous, Chairman NC legal Cell Adv Isaaq Qadri and those who participated included Mohammad Akbar Lone, Chief Spokesperson Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi, party legislators Ab Majeed Bhat, Altaf Kaloo, Sheikh Ishfaq Jabbar, Showkat Hussain Ganaie, Ali Mohd Dar, Qaiser Jamsheed Lone, District Presidents, Block Presidents, ex legislators Irfan Shah, Javed Dar, Sheikh Rafi, Provincial Secretary Showkat Ah Mir, Political Secretary to Working President Tanvir Sadiq, Provincial President YNC Salman Ali Sagar, Provincial Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar, district committee members, party delegates and senior party functionaries.