‘Any assault on JK’s special status will reopen the question of accession’
SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) on Tuesday expressed strong resentment against the decision of the State Administrative Council (SAC) to delete a provision in the Public Safety Act (PSA) that barred authorities from lodging J&K residents in jails outside the state.
Addressing a special meeting with party leaders and legislators from Srinagar, NC general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar said the decision would send incarcerated under-trials away from their families and would further add to the sense of isolation when all efforts should be made to build bridges of reconciliation with the people, a statement issued here said.
“This is an unfortunate and unacceptable decision that National Conference opposes unequivocally and unambiguously. We appeal to the Governor to reconsider this decision of the SAC,” he said.
Sagar said the previous Omar Abdullah-led government in 2011 made specific amendments to the Public Safety Act (PSA) which redefined the age and scope of the Act’s jurisdiction vis-a-vis minors, reduced the period of incarceration from one year to three months and also reduced the incarceration period in cases related to the state’s security and law and order from two years to six months.
The J&K Public Safety Ordinance 2011 maintained that no resident of J&K detained under the PSA could be shifted to a jail outside the State, he said.
The NC general secretary said the SAC should repeal the decision and restore the provision in the Act at the earliest possible instance.
Addressing the meeting, NC provincial president Nasir Aslam Wani said the Government of India (GoI) and the powers that be should realise that abrogation and repeal of Article 370 and Article 35-A of the Constitution of India “would reopen the question of the state’s accession to the Union of India and invalidate the constitutional bridge that connects the state to the rest of the country”.
“After Maharaja Hari Singh’s conditional accession to the Union of India, the representatives of J&K and the central leadership of the country negotiated the terms and conditions of the state’s accession and also defined the scope and nature of its relationship with the Centre. These negotiations resulted in constitutional safeguards in Constitution of India through the Constituent Assembly of the Union – as also validated by the Constituent Assembly of Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
“The 1952 Delhi Agreement – which is a sovereign agreement – defines the scope and nature of Centre-State relations with respect to the State of Jammu and Kashmir. Any attempts to violate these sovereign promises and agreements by assaulting the constitutional safeguards will invalidate the State’s accession to the Union,” Wani said.
Launching a scathing attack on the Peoples Democratic Party, the NC provincial president said, “PDP misled and betrayed the people of the state for own personal political benefits. Every single promise that was made by Late Mufti Sahab and then Mehbooba Mufti stands broken without any remorse.”
“While today – after being sacked by her allies – Mehbooba Mufti terms power as a ‘cup of poison’. She not only enjoyed this ‘cup of poison’ but also ensured that illegal and illegitimate benefits are also reaped by her kith and kin. It was under Mehbooba Mufti’s rule that J&K’s fiscal autonomy was eroded through the extension of the GST Act and various other central acts and provisions. The people of the state will never forgive PDP for acting as a Trojan Horse to weaken the state’s special status.”