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Says intelligentsia in India: Only people of JK should have any say in Art 35-A

Srinagar, Mar 3: Amid demands by right-wing groups for revocation of Article 35A, the intelligentsia in India says that the people of Jammu and Kashmir are the only stakeholders who should have any say in the matter.

Many right-wing groups including the ruling BJP at the Centre have been demanding revocation of Article 35A, the provision that provides J&K specials status.

 

Five petitions challenging the Article are before the Supreme Court. The main petition filed by Delhi-based NGO ‘We the Citizens’ has been pending since 2014.

India’s intelligentsia says that Article 35A or Article 370 cannot be revoked without the consent of people of Jammu and Kashmir.

Noted political analyst and Track II diplomat, O P Shah said that Article 35A should remain till people in J&K want it.

“It cannot be revoked without the consent of the people of the state,” Shah told The Kashmir Monitor.

“The Supreme Court should adjourn the matter till the elected government is in place in the state. This is not the time to raise the issue and could further deteriorate the situation in the state,” he said.

Former interlocutor to Kashmir, Radha Kumar, said Article 35A cannot be revoked.

“I fully endorse what NC and PDP say about Article 35A. I believe it can’t be discussed the way it is being discussed. I hope Supreme Court never heard any of these petitions,” Radha said.

She said the situation would turn worse if there is any fiddling with Article 35A. “It is irresponsible to raise these issues. Only people of J&K can decide about it. Any tampering with Article 35A will lead to 1947 situation when the Instrument of Accession was signed,” she said.

She said that the government instead needs to take some reconciliation measures. “Everyone should live in peace here,” she added.

Article 35A bars Indian citizens, other than those who are permanent residents of Jammu and Kashmir, from seeking employment, settling in the state, acquiring immovable properties or undertaking any trade or business if the state makes any law to that effect and it cannot be challenged before any court.

Former chief minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have warned that any tinkering of Article 35A would trigger political upheaval.

Mehbooba said: “If anything like that happens (tinkering with Article 35A), its consequences would be — I have said it earlier and my words were not taken well — that it would be difficult for those who raise the flag of this country to even shoulder it. If it (Article 35A) is attacked, I don’t know that which flag the people of Jammu and Kashmir would raise after dropping the Tricolour.”

While Omar warned the Centre and Governor-led administration in Jammu and Kashmir that any tampering with Article 35A would make the situation worse than Arunachal Pradesh.

“I want to tell the Centre to check the situation in Arunachal Pradesh. There is no militancy or stone-pelting.  The state has been set on fire by fiddling with the Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) (issue). The situation has become so bad that people there have set fire to the house of deputy chief minister,” Omar recently said.