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Article 35 A can’t be touched: Mani Shankar Aiyar

Srinagar: Senior Congress Leader Mani Shankar Aiyar along with Noted political analyst and track II diplomat O P Shah during discussion on 'Jammu Kashmir and Indo-Pak Relations', in Srinagar on Saturday,August 25, 2018. PTI Photo by Umar Ganie

SRINAGAR, Aug 25: Coming out in support of Article 35 A, senior Congress leader and former union minister Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday said the legislation can’t be “touched”.
“Article 35 A is in the interest of the nation. It should not be touched. Nobody should make any effort for its abrogation,” Aiyar told the media persons on the sidelines of a conference titled ‘Discussion on Jammu and Kashmir and Indo-Pak relations’ organised by a civil society group, Centre for Peace and Progress.
“It has to be maintained. People of JK are apprehended that their rights will be snatched if there is any tempering with Article 35 A,” he said.
The Joint Resistance Leadership (JRL) has called for two-day strike to protest against any tinkering with Article 35A of the Constitution on August 30 and 31.
They have urged people to prepare for a mass agitation in case there is any adverse ruling from the apex court against the constitutional provision, which grants special citizenship rights to the people of the state.
Earlier, Kashmir and parts of Jammu observed a complete shutdown on August 5 and 6 against any tempering with the legislation.
The senior Congress leader also advocated engagement of Hurriyat in the dialogue process. “If anybody wants to be separated, they have to be engaged in dialogue. We during last year visit to Kashmir met Hurriyat leaders. Even Mohammad Yasin Malik said he will meet us in New Delhi,” he said.
Addressing the conference, he said that Narendra Modi led government was at the last stage and the BJP won’t come to the power.
“There has been new government in Pakistan but there will be change in the sub-continent only when there is change in government at New Delhi. There will be a big change after elections,” he said. “In the last over four years, the hatred has been spread unlike Atal Bihari Vajpayee tenure.”
Aiyar advocated that India should hold talks with both Pakistan and people of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh.
“There are several reports of committees, working groups, and interlocutors. These reports have to be put on table then discuss with all stakeholders,” he said. “India has to be proud that a Muslim majority state is its part. We can’t guarantee whether talks will lead to any solution. But we can guarantee that war will not lead to any solution,” he added.
Former minister Ghulam Hassan Mir said that Kashmir is “election agenda” for India and Pakistan.
“War is no solution. India has to make Pakistan its best friend. People in Pakistan believe that India is hell bent to eliminate them. India has to regain the trust through talks,” he added.
MLA Kulgam M Y Tarigami also advocated talks between India and Pakistan for the solution of Kashmir problem.
Senior PDP leader Nizam ud Din Bhat said “animosity has increased between India and Pakistan”.
Jammu and Kashmir Democratic Liberation Party (JKDLP) Chairman Hashim Qureshi said there has to be “people to people contact and intra Kashmir dialogue”.
Chairman Centre for Peace and Progress OP Shah said they have been organising discussion across the country for improvisation of relations between the neighbouring countries.
The conference was attended by Muzaffar Ahmed Shah, Saifuddin Soz, Jag Mohan Singh Raina, Sohail Azmi, besides people from other walks of life.