Srinagar: A day after the RSS chief called for amending the Indian Constitution to “completely assimilate” J&K into India, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) put up a brave face on Sunday, saying the special status of J&K was “non-negotiable”.
J&K state enjoys a special status within the union of India through Article 370. Naeem Akhtar, minister for public works and spokesperson for the PDP, said on Sunday, “Article 370 is part of constitution of India and it can never be reversed.”
The PDP has earlier said that its alliance with the BJP is based on an “Agenda of Alliance” which has agreed to maintain the status-quo on the “special status” of J&K.
Akhtar said that Article 370 was a “national commitment with people of J&K”.
On Saturday, speaking at the RSS headquarters in Nagpur on the organisation’s foundation day, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat had said that “necessary constitutional amendments” will have to be made so that “residents of Jammu and Kashmir are completely assimilated with rest of Bharat.”
Bhagwat’s statements were condemned by J&K’s main opposition party, National Conference (NC), which asked the PDP to “introspect”.
“J&K’s special status was the only constitutional bridge that connected J&K to the rest of the country,” the NC said. “It is the PDP’s apologetic silence that is a matter of grave concern and is indicative of a complete sell-out that could have dangerous and far-reaching implications for the state and its people.”
PDP’s general secretary Nizam ud Din Bhat said on Sunday that there will be “no compromise” on Article 370, whatsoever.
“The stand of the party is very clear when it comes to the special status of J&K,” he said. “They (BJP and RSS) have their own politics at the national level, so they do it.”
Some groups and individuals have petitioned the Supreme Court to do away with Article 35 A of the Indian Constitution. The Article empowers the J&K legislature to define the state’s permanent residents, who are entitled to vote in elections for the state legislature, get state government jobs, and own land in the state. The Supreme Court will hear the petitions challenging Article 35A after the festival of Diwali.