The National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah has been fulminating against BJP ‘Sankalp Patra’, ever since it was released before the Lok Sabha elections, as it spoke about abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A of the constitution to enable permanent assimilation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir in the Union of India.
The Congress ally, recently again stirred controversy, by claiming that even Jammu and Kashmir’s ‘ties are temporary’ with India in that situation. Farooq Abdulla was retaliating to Amit Shah’s “Article 370 is temporary, not permanent” statement.
Rejecting the Central government’s long-standing push for abrogating Article 370 and 35A from the state, Abdullah said, “If this is temporary, then even our ties are temporary. It was said back then that when there is plebiscite in here (Jammu and Kashmir), the plebiscite will decide if Jammu and Kashmir becomes a part of India or Pakistan, but that did not happen. So if that did not happen, how can they abrogate the Article, because Pakistan has their part, India has its part, so the decision has not been made. The Maharaja’s legacy is not together, half is here, half is there,” he added.
Amit Shah, speaking for the first time in the lower house, after assuming the post of the Union Home Minister, on Friday, said “Our stance on Jammu and Kashmir has and will remain constant. There has been no change in our position on Article 370. We have always maintained that Article 370 is only a temporary provision in our Constitution.”
Launching a blistering attack on former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and the Congress, he said that Nehru was to be blamed for the political problems and terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir. He asserted in his address at the Lok Sabha that Article 370 of the Constitution granting special status to the state is “temporary in nature” and “not permanent”.
Shah alleged that the policies of previous Congress governments widened the wedge between the people of the state and the country. He had said, “Today one-third of Kashmir is not with us. Who announced ceasefire when Pakistan encroached in Kashmir after independence and occupied one-third of its territory?
“Jawaharlal Nehru announced ceasefire and Pakistan took away that part of Kashmir,” he said, claiming that had Nehru taken the then Home Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Sardar Patel into confidence before announcing a ceasefire, then Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (PoK) would not have formed and terrorism would not have existed in Kashmir.
Farooq Abdullah had earlier also ranted that if BJP ever abrogates Article 370 and Article 35A, the state’s accession to India will end. “They will bring outsiders to settle in Kashmir, they want to do away with Article 370. I swear by Allah, even Allah wants us to see us liberated from them. I will see how India’s flag is hoisted here,” Abdullah said.
However, he is not the only cynic who has spewed venom on the BJP resolve. Mehbooba Mufti, the former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir had made similar controversial remark after she was apparently rattled by BJP’s commitment towards abrogating Article 35A and Article 370. She had said that if Article 370 is scrapped, India will have to re-negotiate its relationship with the state. She had further tried to incite the people by threatening that if BJP repeals Articles 35A and 370, the whole country will burn along with J&K.
Article 35A and Article 370 are two controversial provisions present in the constitution, providing certain benefits to the people residing in the state. The two provisions Article 35A and 370 are very much against the idea of equality that has been promised under the Article 14 of the constitution as these two controversial provisions bars people outside the state to exert their rights in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Since fundamental Rights enjoys precedence over ordinary rights under the Indian Constitution, both Article 35A and 370 are subservient to Article 14, thus raising a question on these two Articles.
Article 35A is a provision inserted into the Indian Constitution in 1954 by the then Prime Minister Nehru, which provides the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to decide who all are ‘permanent residents’ of the State and confer on them special rights and privileges in public sector jobs, acquisition of property in the State, scholarships and other public aid and welfare. It also prevents residents of other Indian states from owning property there.