Militancy, not special status, damaged Jammu and Kashmir: Omar to Jaitley

Srinagar: While reacting to the statement made by the Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley over Article 35-A, National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said that it was militancy which damaged the state not it’s special status.

Omar said that it was special status that protected the State but the presence of guns caused damage to Jammu and Kashmir. He added that to some extent Pakistan was responsible for militancy in Kashmir but Government of India  also created situations that paved way for militancy in Kashmir.

Addresing a presser in Srinagar, Omar also pointed out that the special status of the state guaranteed under Article 35-A of the constitution has been under threat right from the beginning but after the rightwing BJP come to power the threat of abrogation has only increased after BJP came into power.

He said that Jammu and Kashmir is not the only state in the country that has special status and identity.

“North East, Himachal Pradesh, Andaman and Nicobar or Lakshadweep have special status and their own identity under the same Indian constitution. Why is it always that Jammu and Kashmir has to face the onslaught of these rightwing parties?”

He said that there was a wrong notion that special status is only for Valley Muslims. “Article 35-A is beneficial for Kargil, Leh as well as for the people of Jammu,” Omar said.

Earlier, PDP while reacting to the statement Arun Jaitely said that Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was trying to convert the constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India into an “occupation”.

Senior PDP leader and former minister Naeem Akhtar said that BJP is trying to convert legal and constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an “occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion.”

On Thursday Jaitley in a Facebook blog had said that the Article 35-A is “constitutionally vulnerable”and has denied JK  a booming economy.

In a blog posted on Facebook titled ‘The Rule of Law and the State of Jammu & Kashmir’, Jaitley said the seven-decade history of the state of Jammu and Kashmir confronts changing India with several questions.

“Was the Nehruvian course, which the state had embarked, a historical blunder or was it the correct course to follow? Most Indians today believe that it is the former.

While calling the Article a ‘misadventure’ he said, “The State does not have adequate financial resources. Its ability to raise more has been crippled by Article 35-A. No investor is willing to set up an industry, hotel, private educational institutions or private hospitals since he can neither buy land or property nor can his executives do so. Their ward cannot get government jobs or admission to colleges.”

He further added, “Today, there are no major national or international chains which have set up hotel in a tourism centric State. This prevents enrichment, resource generation and job creation. Students have to travel all over, including Nepal and Bangladesh, to get college admissions. Engineering colleges and hospitals, including super-speciality facility set up by Central Government in Jammu are lying under-utilized or unutilized since Professors and Doctors from outside are unwilling to go there. Article 35A has prevented investment and dismantled the State’s economy.”


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