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Farooq Abdullah Warns of 'Greater Revolt' if J&K's Status is Altered

Article 35A of the Constitution empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to define the state's permanent residents and their privileges.

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Updated:August 8, 2017, 4:25 PM IST
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Farooq Abdullah Warns of 'Greater Revolt' if J&K's Status is Altered
File photo of National Conference leader and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah. (PTI)
Srinagar: National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Monday warned of an "uprising" if Article 35A of the Constitution, which empowers the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to define the state's permanent residents and their privileges, was abrogated.

"When it will come to that decision (abrogation of Article 35 A), you will see this mass (of people) rising. Do not forget that when Amarnath Yatra (land row) thing happened, people rose overnight. So, 35 A will be far greater revolt and I wonder whether they (government) will be able to hold that," the Lok Sabha MP told reporters at his residence after a meeting of opposition leaders.

Abdullah said the opposition parties were united on the issue and would make people aware of the fallout if the Article is done away with.

"The need was to sit together and discuss the issue of Article 35-A because it affects the whole state — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. So, it is very important that the people understand why we are against the abrogation of Article 35-A, because it (government) wants to do away with our basic thing," Abdullah said.

"All parties — whether in Jammu or Kashmir or Ladakh — will try to make people understand that what effect it (abrogation of the Article) will have on the state,” he said.

The meeting, attended by the National Conference, the Congress and others, was called by Abdullah to discuss the fallout of any abrogation of Article 35A.

Article 35A had come into force through a presidential order in 1954. It has been challenged in the Supreme Court by an NGO.

Those seeking abrogation of Article 35A argue it was not added to the Constitution by following the procedure prescribed for amending the Constitution under Article 368.

Asked about the course of action by the opposition parties, Farooq Abdullah said the issue is in the Supreme Court which has not given its decision yet, so the parties would take the issue to the people.

"We will first raise this issue among the people like we did on GST. We will put it up vociferously before the people,” he said.

Abdullah alleged that it was a “BJP and RSS conspiracy” to erode the special status of the state. "As far as conspiracy is concerned, you all know that the agenda of the BJP and the RSS is basically to erode the autonomous structure of this state. And we, as a united front, are going to bring this to the people so that they know the fallout," he said.

He said Article 35-A was for protecting the people of the state and its abrogation would have effects in all the three regions of the state whether Jammu, Kashmir or Ladakh.

Abdullah claimed that the state government had not put up a strong representation before the Supreme Court after an NGO had filed a writ petition seeking the striking down of Article 35 A in 2014.

"It is now being fought legally. The state government has represented in the Supreme Court. Only unfortunate thing is that they did not put the high class representation that should have been put before the Supreme Court," he alleged.

Abdullah said he had heard that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had said that if Article 35-A is removed, she will quit the chair. "I hope she stands by that statement of hers," he said.

The National Conference leader said the chief minister should tour every region of the state and explain the fallout of the abrogation of the Article to the people.

(With agency inputs)
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