‘AoA will form the basis of any discussion on the state’
Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi and told him that the current debate on Article 35A only “vitiates” the atmosphere in Jammu and Kashmir.
An official statement from the JK government stated that Mufti communicated to Modi the “sentiments of the people of the state attached to the special position, and also the apprehensions the debate on (its) abrogation has created in their hearts and minds.”
“Such debates and demands only vitiate the atmosphere in the state and the country, as a result of which people suffer immensely,” the official statement quoted Mufti as saying in her meeting with Modi.
Without even mentioning Article 35A, the government statement said that Mufti told the prime minister that “such debates” have a negative impact on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir which is steadily stabilising after a lot of effort put in by the state and central governments.
The statement said that Mufti told the prime minister that the Muslim-majority state of Jammu & Kashmir acceded to the Union of India rejecting the two-nation theory and Constitutional guarantees were provided to it to protect its regional aspirations and character.
“The need and urge for protecting and respecting this special status were amply reflected during my recent interactions with leaders of several political parties in the state,” Mufti told the prime minister, according to the official statement.
The statement said that Prime Minister Modi assured the chief minister that the Agenda of Alliance agreed upon between the PDP and BJP will form the basis of any discussion on the state.
“He also reaffirmed the successful implementation of AoA (Agenda of Alliance) in the state during the tenure of the present government,” the statement added.
BJP spokesman Nalin Kohli said he had no idea about the meeting.
On Thursday, when Mufti flew to New Delhi to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh, she had earlier met Governor NN Vohra in Srinagar to apprise him of the concerns of Kashmir’s all political parties on the status of Article 35A of the Indian Constitution. The Article, which grants Jammu and Kashmir rights to determine who is a permanent resident of the state, has been challenged in the Supreme Court with a petition filed by an RSS-backed non-governmental organisation, and also by a petition filed by a Kashmiri Pandit, Charu Wali Khanna, who has argued that it is discriminatory against women residents of the state. The Supreme Court has constituted a three-member bench to hear the NGO’s petition after India’s Attorney-General told the court that the central government wanted a “larger debate” on the Article.