Says attempts to dilute the Article will embolden elements who want to settle ‘people of one religion and colour’ in Kashmir
JAMMU: Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday that those opposing J&K’s special status enshrined in the Article 370 of Indian Constitution were “anti-national”.
Speaking in the assembly on Home department grants, Mehbooba said those trying to abrogate Article 370 are the “biggest anti-nationals” and they should be opposed.
Without naming anyone, Mehbooba said she was aware that some people were trying to use judiciary to scrap the legislation which gives J&K unique constitutional status.
“Those who are doing it are harming India and its interests. Article 370 has persuaded the people to reject the monolithic concept of living and adopt a pluralistic way in tune with the traditions and ethos of the place,” she added.
Uprisings in numbers
Killed in 2008, 2010, 2016 uprisings: 46, 101, 76
Arrested in 2016 (8587) released (8473)
Jailed under PSA: 522 (265 still detained)
CM announces release of 14-year-old Sahil Ahmad and 86-year-old Wali Mohammad Shah, both PSA detainees
No pro-India party involved in uprisings
Govt buildings set ablaze (28), damaged (13)
Police stations set ablaze (10), damaged (40)
Schools burnt: 35
Last week, former chief minister Omar Abdullah had told the House that BJP might use judiciary to scrap the Article 370.
Various outfits believed to be the fronts of rightwing organisations, including BJP and RSS, have in the past filed petitions questioning the legality of Article 370 and other such legislations granting J&K constitutional autonomy.
“These elements are actually bruising the soul of this ethos resulting in counter elements which ultimately goes against the interests of the state and the country,” she said.
According to her, any dilution in the special status of Jammu and Kashmir would have its repercussions, as it would embolden people to settle people of one religion and colour in Kashmir.
“We as Muslim majority state should send out a message to the world by welcoming Kashmiri Pandits to return to the valley. Kashmir is a paradise and it would not be allowed to become Afghanistan or Syria,” she said while seeking help from the members in restoring peace in the valley.
Without naming pro-freedom groups, she said those claiming the return of Pandits would change demography of the valley “are wrong.”
“They are our brothers and their return will not change any demography as they are natives of Kashmir.”
Appreciating the people of Jammu for maintaining peace and communal harmony, she said, “Everything is normal in Jammu, thousands of Pandits who left valley 90s settled here and thousands of Kashmiris have constructed their house in Jammu. Why hasn’t demography of Jammu changed?”
Over the remarks of Omar Abdullah that she is implementing the doctrine of National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, not the Agenda for Alliance, she said she is working on the “Mufti Doctrine”, not “Doval doctrine”.
Over the achievement of Agenda for Alliance, she stated that it was the product of her father late Mufti Mohammad Syed’s lifetime experience.
While castigating Congress for calling BJP–PDP alliance unholy, she said when Mufti Sahab joined Congress, the party was treated as untouchable in Kashmir and only because of late Mufti could Congress make an entry in Kashmir.
She said the return of power projects, revoking of AFSPA are part of Agenda for Alliance.
‘’Power projects will be returned back, AFSPA has go but not at sudden, it will take some time and I am committed to implementing the Agenda for Alliance,” she said.
Opposition creates ruckus
Opposition, soon after Question Hour began, created pandemonium in the House, accusing the government of failing to restore electricity and clearing snow off roads.
Ignoring Opposition’s demand for an adjournment motion, Speaker Kavinder Gupta continued with the normal proceedings, prompting the opposition members to shout slogans against the government.
NC leader Ali Mohammad Sagar told reporters outside assembly: “We helped run this house till 10 pm so that the issues related to people’s welfare could be discussed but today when we asked this government to discuss crucial issues related to people’s problems they refused. This is very shameful on part of the government.”
Countering Opposition allegations, education minister Naeem Akhtar told reporters that the Opposition had been left with no issue and that is why they are raking up these issues again and again.
Govt committed to holding panchayat polls by March 2017: Minister
A day after former chief minister Omar Abdullah dared the government to hold Panchayat polls right now, rural development minister Abdul Haq Khan informed the assembly that the government is committed to holding the elections by March this year. He said last year’s uprising had hit “peace, development and democratic processes” and the environment “was not conducive in rural areas” at present. But preparations for holding panchayat polls have already been initiated.
Replying to a BJP legislator’s question on the applicability of 73rd Constitutional Amendment pertaining to panchayats, Khan said the amendment was not applicable to J&K because of its unique constitutional position.
He said, “However, the Jammu and Kashmir Panchayat Raj (Amendment Act), 2014 has been enacted to bring in the broader features of the 73rd Amendment of the Constitution of India.’’
“In the state of JK, election was held to the first tier of Panchayat Raj system, which is Halqa Panchayats, in the year 2011, term of which was expired in July 2016. Process has been initiated for holding of fresh Panchayat elections. As soon as Halqa Panchayat elections are in place, the process for 2nd and 3rd tier shall be initiated accordingly, as both these tiers of Panchayat Raj system are co-terminus with the Halqa Panchayat elections,’’ he said.
Forest land grab: No minister, MLA involved, says Govt
No case of encroachment upon forest land stands registered against any MP, minister or MLA, the government said in the assembly.
However, forest department has taken up with deputy commissioner Jammu the issue regarding the construction of an educational institution, with which BJP minister Abdul Gani Kohli is associated, on state land. As many as 53 government employees are involved in forest land encroachment.
However, not satisfied with the reply, NC legislator Altaf Wani walked out in protest. He told media persons outside the House that the government was shielding ‘tainted legislators’.
He said that former PDP MLA Mohammad Rafi Mir has grabbed forest land.
“When the government can’t get back encroached land form their members then why are they crushing the downtrodden people?” Altaf said.