Questioning Article 35-A will reopen accession debate: Omar

Questioning Article 35-A will reopen accession debate: Omar
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SRINAGAR: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said any attempts to tinker with Article 35-A will have serious ramifications and would inevitably reopen the debate on J&K’s accession with the Union of India.
Addressing the monthly provincial committee (Kashmir) meeting at party headquarters here, the NC vice president, according to a statement, “reminded the powers that be that J&K acceded with the Union of India on certain conditions unlike the other princely states in 1947”.
“If legality of the Article 35-A comes under scanner, then the relationship between the state and country will also come under scrutiny,” he said and referred to various guarantees that the state enjoyed within Constitution of India.
While recalling the unique status of J&K, he said, “All our constitutional authorities assume office after taking oath under our own state’s constitution. Ours is the only state in the country where this is possible.”
Omar said the voices coming out to support and protect Article 35-A are region, religion neutral and any attempts to give it a communal colour have been defeated.
“BJP MLA from RS Pura recently spoke passionately in favour of Article 35-A, and even lauded Kashmiris for their continuous support to it. This should serve as an eye-opener for those who are speaking against it. Even people in Ladakh are openly coming out in favour of Article 35-A,” he said.
Omar said it was National Conference which raised the issue of Article 35-A in the Legislative Assembly in 2015. “The then PDP-BJP government had no idea about the threats to state’s special status and were not alarmed for reasons known to them. Upon our persistence, the government finally took the legal course on Article 35-A,” he said.
Reiterating the party’s resolve to fight for state’s special status at all fora, the NC vice president said, “We will fight for Article 35-A both legally as well as on the streets. While we continue with our peaceful protests in favour of Article 35-A across the state, our party has also filed an intervention plea in the Supreme Court and has sought the services of best possible lawyers to protect the Article.”