Farooq Abdullah chairs meeting; parties likely to put a joint fight in Supreme Court; opposition seeks debate in J&K Assembly
SRINAGAR: Asserting that article 35A was central to preserve the unique identity for all the regions of the state, opposition parties on Firday said that they have developed a strong consensus to contest the writ challenging article 35A in the Supreme Court of India.
“Keeping in view the seriousness of the issue, the opposition parties have decided to contest the case to protect 35 A in the Supreme Court,” said the J&K secretary of the Communist Party of India, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami.
A meeting of the opposition parties to discuss ways to protect the special provision of the constitution was chaired by National Conference (NC) President and Member of Indian Parliament, Farooq Abdullah.
“We have decided to contest it in the Supreme Court, but we are yet to arrive at a decision whether to fight it alone or as a joint opposition. There is a strong current that we need to fight it in the court together,” Tarigami added.
Another issue where the parties struck a consensus was to counter the propaganda that the opposition to abrogation of 35 A was concentrated in Kashmir.
“We have decided to contest the propaganda that the resistance to protect 35 A is not Kashmir specific,” Tarigami said. “Jammu based groups affiliated with right wing Hindu parties like BJP are hell bent to portray that as Kashmir specific resistance. We will meet opinion makers and leaders from Jammu, Ladakh and Leh to tell them how much important the article was for preserving their unique identity and culture (of Jammu and Kashmir). The movement to protect 35A is above religion and region. We will hold our first meeting in Jammu after Eid.”
The opposition said the meeting was important since there was representation to save Article 35A from all regions, including Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir.
The meeting was attended by J&K Pradesh Congress Committee president, G A Mir, Democratic Party (Nationalist) president Ghulam Hassan Mir, and Peoples’ Democratic Front Chairman Hakeem Yaseen, besides CPI (M) State Secretary, M Y Tarigami.
DPN leader Mir said that the opposition also decided to meet the governor to convene a special session of the assembly.
“It is mandatory that government should convene a session of J&K Assembly after every six months. After GST specific special session, there has been no assembly. We will approach the governor and impress upon him to convene regular sessions of assembly so that we can discuss article 35A and other issues of importance,” Mir said.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had already met the opposition National Conference to discuss ways to protect the article 35 A of the Indian Constitution.
The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) backed Bhartiya Janta Party had made an election pledge that they will remove the article 370 and 35A to bring Kashmir fully into Indian mainstream.
Even as the J&K government filed a counter-affidavit seeking dismissal of the petition, the Government of India (GoI) did not file one. Attorney general K K Venugopal told the court that the centre “wanted a larger debate on it”. He also asked that the matter be referred to a larger bench given the constitutional issues following which apex court referred the matter to a three-judge bench and reportedly set a six-week deadline for its final disposal.