Situation in Jammu and Kashmir will be worse than Arunachal if Centre interferes with Article 35 A: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar: Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah on Monday said Jammu and Kashmir might find itself in a situation that is worse than what Arunachal Pradesh is presently facing, if the Centre interferes with Article 35 A of the Constitution, which gives special rights and privileges to people in Jammu and Kashmir. Abdullah said, You keep threatening us with article 35 A.

Look at what is happening in Arunachal Pradesh now where there is no militancy. They have interfered with their Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC) as we have. See what is now happening there. If you interfere with 35 A in Jammu and Kashmir, the situation here might be worse than Arunachal Pradesh. I am telling you this is a reality. The Centre and the Governor have only one responsibility right now that is to hold elections. So, hold elections, let people take the decision, the new government will itself work towards safeguarding Article 35A,he said.

A bunch of petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A  is listed in the Supreme Court’s cause list for hearing between February 26 and February 28. The state, however, had sought postponement of the case citing the absence of elected government there. Article 35A disallows people from residing in Jammu and Kashmir, buying or owning immovable property in the state, settle permanently, or get state government jobs.

Violence broke out Arunachal Pradesh capital city Itanagar on Friday during a 48-hour strike against the state’s decision to grant permanent resident certificates (PRC) to non-Arunachali citizens. Speaking about the attacks against Kashmiris, Abdullah said, We get news of people from Jammu and Kashmir being attacked every day in different parts of the country after the Pulwama attack. We waited for PM Modi to speak about us. We all respected Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s statement. These words do not matter if you do not act. Our people are being attacked every day. The scale has gone down a bit. PM Modi should ask Bajrang Dal and others to stop these attacks against Kashmiris, he said.

Addressing a rally in Rajasthan, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said, Our fight is against terrorism, against enemies of humanity, not against Kashmiris… Our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmir, not against the Kashmiris. Batting for a dialogue between India and Pakistan, he said, We don’t raise voices for war since the solution is through dialogue. A statement was released by India and Saudi Arabia called for a dialogue between India and Pakistan. When you say then this is for the country’s right. When we say it then we are labeled as anti-national.

Earlier NC President Farooq Abdullah said, Many are trying to create an environment of war here. We should pray to God to keep us away from war. Till today four wars have been fought but nothing happened. If there is a way between these two countries, it will through dialogue. Pakistan must try hard to eliminate terrorism. If they did not do it, it will be declared by the world as Terrorist state. Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has sent a representative who talked with PM Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj. I think this will reduce chances of war, he added.

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