Free Press Journal

Article 370 is non-negotiable, irrevocable: Mufti


Jammu: Opposition Peoples Democratic Party has accused the BJP of “misleading” people by reviving the issue of abrogation of Article 370 in its manifesto released today, saying the article is non-negotiable and irrevocable.

“Article 370 is non-negotiable, irrevocable and those talking about its abrogation are ignorant about the constitutional position of the state and are misleading people of the country,” PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed told rallies at Rajouri and Surankote in Jammu parliamentary seat.

Mufti attacked BJP Prime Ministerial nominee Narendra Modi for “backtracking” from his earlier statement in which he had said in Jammu that he would follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy on Kashmir.

“Article 370 provides the mechanism for a constitutional relationship between the state and rest of the country and it cannot be abrogated without bringing into question the fundamentals of that relationship,” he said, adding his party would resist any attempt at dilution of the state’s special position guaranteed by the Constitution.

The PDP patron said by reviving old rhetoric BJP is simply negating the policies of Vajpayee and such a policy has everything in it to hurt the sensibilities of the people of JK and prospects of reducing the trust deficit it “suffers” with rest of the country.

“Vajpayee reached out to the people of JK and had vowed to resolve the Kashmir issue under the ambit of insaniyat (humanity),” he said, adding, Modi’s speeches in Jammu would look like mere lip service to Vajpayee’s statesmanship in the light of his party’s manifesto.

Mufti said it was essential for any aspiring PM to be inclusive and accommodative both on home and external fronts.

“If Modi has a vision for India then he can’t keep Pakistan out of that as that country has to be taken on board to realize a permanent peace in the region,” he said.

Mufti said Vajpayee had reached out to Pakistan even in the wake of Kargil and Parliament attacks which set a new agenda of peace and resolution, something that BJP must emulate if Kashmir has to be resolved.

“Peace initiative with Pakistan and resolution efforts on Kashmir is the sine qua non of Vajpayee legacy and there is no alternative to carrying them forward for any government that takes over in Delhi,” the PDP veteran said.

Mufti also took on BJP on reviving issues of Article 370 and Ram temple in Ayodhya, saying it could risk destabilisation in the society which a country of such diversity could never afford.

“For a leader who aspires to be Prime Minister it is essential to show respect to other’s point of view and introduce elements that connect people rather than achieving the reverse,” he said.

Mufti also took a dig at the Omar Abdullah government saying the trust deficit that exists today has been created because National Conference has not been able to use the Parliament as a forum for articulating aspirations, highlighting the grievances and voicing the worries of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the PDP wants to change the national mindset by involving different shades of public and political opinion in and outside the Parliament.