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Kashmir leaders ‘politicizing’ issue: BJP

Srinagar, Aug 01: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Wednesday accused Kashmir-centric political parties including Hurriyat of “politicizing” the issue of Article 35-A, which accords special rights to J&K citizens.

The party said the matter was subjudice and that everyone has to wait for the verdict of Supreme Court.

“All these leaders are politicizing the Article 35A issue. Actually they instigate the masses over Article 35-A, just to reap political benefits,” former deputy chief minister and BJP’s senior leader Kavinder Gupta told KNS over phone from Jammu.

The BJP leader was reacting to the announcement of Kashmir based political parties including the Hurriyat to launch a series of protests till August 6, when the hearing on the subject is scheduled in the Supreme Court.

Gupta said that the people must understand that the matter was sub Judice and that holding protests is contempt of court’. “This issue is sub judice so let Supreme Court announce its decision,” Gupta maintained.

However the BJP leader said that as for as the BJP is concerned, they will respect the verdict of the Supreme Court on the issue.

The apex court is scheduled to hear on August 6 the case about the special constitutional provision that allows the J&K state legislator to define state subjects and their exclusive rights.

Sensing the tension, Governor N N Vohra, who rules the state at present, had already recommended to New Delhi that the hearing of the case seeking annulment of Article 35A be deferred again until an elected government was in place in the state.

A slew of petitions challenging Article 35A which were clubbed together by the Supreme Court have ratcheted up tensions in Kashmir, where both mainstream and separatist leaders fret demographic changes if the constitutional provision, which prohibits people from other states from owning property in J&K, is struck down from the Constitution.

The special provision was added to the Constitution of India through a presidential order on May 14, 1954.

The BJP-led government at the Centre has not filed a counter-affidavit against the petitions, unlike the previous governments had done in defense of the constitutional provision.

Meanwhile, two arch-rivals Peoples Democratic Party and National Conference are on the same page on the issue and have warned against the repealing of the Article.

A Delhi-based NGO “We the Citizen” and some individuals, including Radhika Gill, 18, a Valmiki girl, had challenged the constitutional validity of Article 35-A.

The J&K State Committee of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) led by Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami has also filed an intervention application in the pending writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging Article 35A of the Constitution.