BJP trying to engineer regional divide in JK, says Omar

Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC), Working President Omar Abdullah on Monday assailed the BJP for trying to engineer a regional divide in Jammu and Kashmir over Article 35A of the Constitution.
He said that if the ‘so-called’ assurance given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was true why a counter affidavit hadn’t been presented before the Supreme Court of India by the Centre to defend Article 35-A.
“Instead of defending this Article, the Attorney General pitched for a larger debate on Article 35A”, Omar Abdullah said while inaugurating and addressing a day-long convention of District and Block Presidents of Jammu Province besides senior functionaries of various wings at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan this morning.
“Why isn’t the Central Government formally defending Article 35A in the Supreme Court as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and as a custodian of the Constitution of India?”, he asked.
“Surprisingly BJP has made issue of 35A a case of Jammu VS Kashmir. They say it will benefit Kashmir but adversely affect Jammu,” he said.
Abdullah said that no region of the state will benefit from the removal of article 35-A.
“No region of the state will benefit from removal of 35A, I am just correcting propaganda argument of the BJP,” former J&K CM said.
Omar Abdullah said that BJP is asking others to fight the case in court against Article 370 as they have realized that they can’t do it through Parliament.
“BJP said it would scrap Article 370 but realized isn’t possible through the Parliament. They went to Court, asking others to fight the case,” he said.
He said that if BJP succeeds in scrapping Article 35A through Court, our state subject laws will end and people from outside will come & buy plots here, get government jobs, scholarships for their children.
He stated that no one from outside the state would want to buy the land in Kashmir, as it won’t be safe for them.
“Someone who wants to buy land in this state will he do that in Kashmir? Even people residing in Kashmir don’t feel safe there,” he added.
“Take it in writing that before going to Kashmir to buy land and look for jobs they will come to Jammu,” he said.
Omar said that Hurriyat Conference has no business to comment on Article 35A.
Addressing media persons after a party function he said: “The Hurriyat Conference, which does not believe in the Constitution of India, has no business to comment on 35A,” opined Omar.
“Provisions which are stated under article 35 (A) were initiated by Raja Hari Singh. If this is scrapped by the Supreme Court, it will end state subject laws. People from other states will gain access to buy property in the region, avail educational scholarships for their children, relief material and bag government jobs; the four main things that Raja Hari Singh protected us from,” he was quoted saying.
Abdullah claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has constantly batted for the removal of Article 35 (A), and has attempted to suppress any opposition arising against the same.
“All this is being done under an elaborate conspiracy to rob J&K of its Special Status and rights”, Omar Abdullah said and urged the people to unite in fighting this conspiracy and foil the attempts being made to trample the constitutional guarantees available to the State.
He questioned the intention of the BJP and said whenever the situation turns against their anti-J&K strategies, they come up with sinister new agendas. He expressed surprise over singling out of Jammu and Kashmir in respect of the special provisions related to State Subject Laws notwithstanding the fact that several other states like Himachal Pradesh, North Eastern Statws, Lakshadweep etc were having almost similar laws regarding ownership of land and definition of domicile regulations, etc.
He said the BJP has been hell-bent to trample the special status of Jammu and Kashmir for a long time, which was incidentally their election plank in 2014. “But once they came to power, BJP realized that their designs cannot be achieved politically and therefore a short cut of proxy judicial activism through various affiliated NGOs has been initiated by clandestinely challenging the Article 35A through a ‘Mukhota”, he added.
Referring to the designs of the BJP in attacking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah made a mention of the recent implementation of GST, and said this act too had deprived the State of its right to impose taxes.
“We have now seen with distress our Chief Minister rushing to the Centre to seek tax concessions for various crucial sectors for the State such as horticulture and tourism with the GST Council in turn paying little attention”, he added.
“If Article 35A is repealed, we will traverse back to the unfortunate era of indignity, deprivation and oppression where Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdulah had steered out the people of the State”, he said and lauded the farsightedness of Maharaja Hari Singh in bringing the State Subject Laws into effect in 1927.
He said the Maharaja had brought these laws into effect to save the interests of those locals holding land and finding representation in the state administration as there were apprehensions of non-state subjects usurping the locals. He said the laws enacted 90 years ago have withstood the test of time in preserving the identity of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh besides preserving their legitimate rights.

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