Far greater revolt than 2008 uprising imminent if Article 35-A repealed: Abdullah

Srinagar: The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday chaired a meeting of opposition parties in Srinagar in which he warned the Centre of an uprising “far stronger” than 2008 Amarnath land row if it repealed Article 35-A which confers special rights and privileges on permanent residents of the state.

Strongly objecting to the Centre’s position in Supreme Court last month, when it sought a “larger debate” on Article 35-A, National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah had earlier today said that the state’s accession to the Indian Union and its special status are “two sides of the same coin” and “if there is debate on (the legality) of the Article, you will have to debate the accession itself”.

Article 35-A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents. It is added to the Constitution through a Presidential Order, i.e., The Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order, 1954 – issued by the President of India, “in exercise of the powers conferred by” clause (1) of Article 370 of the Constitution, with the concurrence of the Government of the State of Jammu and Kashmir.

Abdullah had called the meeting in wake of a petition filed by a non-governmental organisation seeking abrogation of Article 35-A, the constitutional provision that defines special privileges enjoyed by permanent residents of the state in matters related to employment, acquisition of immovable property, settlements and scholarships.

“When it will come to that decision you will see this mass rising. Don’t forget when that Amaranth [land row] happened overnight people rose. [Abrogation of Article 35] would be far greater revolt and I wonder whether they [government] would be able to hold that,” said Abdullah while talking to reporters after the meeting at his Gupkar residence.

Abdullah said that their meeting was very important as people needed to understand that abrogation of article 35 A would affect all three regions – Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh – of the state.

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