Mehbooba’s statement on Article 35-A premature: BJP

Srinagar: Terming the statement of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Article 35-A a premature one, the Bhartiya Janta Party on Wednesday said that the party will clear its stand on the issue once the Supreme Court announces its verdict.

Talking to a news agency KNS, BJP’s MP and Jammu and Kashmir in-charge Avinash Rai Khanna said that political parties of the JK state including the Peoples Democratic Party is creating an issue out of nothing.

“The petition is pending in the Supreme Court. Let Supreme Court decide on this. We fail to understand why these leaders are issuing statements over the issue when it is pending in the court of law,” Khanna said.

The BJP leader further said that though they are in collation with the People’s Democratic Party and there is a set Agenda for Alliance, but the policies of both the parties are different.

 “If Mehbooba wants to meet Farooq Abdullah, or other leaders she can. We have to do nothing with this,” he maintained.

When asked about the stand of BJP on Article 35-A he said that once the Supreme Court announces its verdict over the issue, the BJP will clear its stand.

“See these political leaders are creating an issue out of all this. They want to disturb the atmosphere in the state. But as far as our party is concerned we will clear our stand after the Supreme Court verdict,” he said.

The statement comes day after Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, in a surprising move, called on National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at his Gupkar residence in Srinagar to “discuss the ways to protect” the constitutional provision which grants state subject rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state.

It is pertinent to mention here that Mehbooba had warned against any tinkering with Article 35(A) of the constitution.

She had said that any change in its status would invite repercussions and mean that nobody would be able to protect the Indian national flag in Jammu and Kashmir.

“Any tinkering with the article won’t be acceptable. I won’t hesitate in saying that nobody will even carry the corpse of the National Flag in Kashmir (if the article is scrapped). Let me make it very clear,” she had said at an event on Kashmir.

The Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Indian Constitution in 1954, grants special privileges and rights to the permanent residents of J&K and debars non-residents from buying land or property, getting government jobs, or voting in the Assembly elections in the state.

The Article 35-A was extended to J&K through ‘Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order issued by President Rajendra Prasad on May 14, 1954.

It was specifically devised to grant protection to state subject laws that had already been defined under the Maharaja’s rule and notified in 1927 and 1932.

The Supreme Court, which is hearing the Article 35A petition, has referred the matter to a three-judge bench last month and set a six-week deadline for its final disposal.

(With inputs from KNS)

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