Srinagar: A day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti called on her political rival National Conference president Farooq Abdullah to discuss strategy to protect Article 35A, members of opposition parties visited her at her Gupkar residence on Wednesday to warn of serious consequences if Article 35A was removed from the Indian Constitution.
“We told the chief minister that the removal of 35A would have serious consequences,” president of Democratic Party National (DPN), Ghulam Hassan Mir, told Kashmir Reader.
Mir said that the opposition members expressed their concern over attempts to repeal 35A and asked her to defend it strongly. “We told the chief minister that she should defend the case by legal and political means. We asked her to take all measures to defend the Article in the Supreme Court and also ask the Prime Minister to use his influence to end the row over the provision,” Mir said.
The meeting, which lasted for half an hour, was also attended by CPI (M) State Secretary MY Tarigami, and Peoples Democratic Front Chairman Hakeem Yaseen.
Mir said the chief minister acknowledged the views of opposition members.
On Tuesday evening, Mehbooba Mufti had met Farooq Abdullah at his Gupkar residence to discuss ways to protect Article 35A. The opposition parties, led by Abdullah, have formed a ‘United Front’ to protect the Constitutional provision that grants Jammu and Kashmir special powers to decide who its subjects are, and only the state’s subjects have rights to buy land, employment in government services, and the right to vote in the state assembly elections.
A petition has recently been filed by a non-governmental organisation, ‘We The Citizens’, in the Supreme Court seeking repeal of Article 35A on the grounds that it violates the right to equality enshrined in the Indian Constitution.
India’s Attorney-General KK Venugopal has told the Supreme Court that the Indian government wants a “larger debate” on the Article. He also asked that the matter be referred to a larger bench, following which the court referred the petition to a three-judge bench and has reportedly set a six-week deadline for its disposal.