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Don’t play with fire: Mehbooba to Centre

Srinagar, Feb 25: PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti on Monday came down heavily on the Centre over Article 35A that gives the state legislative powers to define the residents of Jammu and Kashmir and their privileges, asking it not to play with fire else people might witness something that they haven’t since the country’s independence.
“Don’t play with fire; don’t fiddle with Article-35A, else you will see what you haven’t seen since 1947,” she said.
She further added that if the state is attacked, then “I don’t know which flag people of J&K will be forced to pick up instead of the tricolour.”
Mehbooba’s statement comes amid intense speculation that the central government might favour abrogation of Article 35A when the petition challenging its constitutional validity comes up for hearing in the Supreme Court later this week.
All mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir have come out in defence of Article 35A, even as the state government has said its stand on the issue remains unchanged as it would seek an adjournment in the apex court when the matter comes up for hearing. Article 35A empowers the J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state and give them special rights and privileges. It was added to the Constitution through a Presidential order on May 14, 1954.