Slams CM’s move to reach out to both New Delhi, parties in Kashmir
As the clamour over the possible scrapping of Article 35-A grows in the Kashmir valley, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday accused Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti of being in a dilemma and said she wanted to “run with the hare and hunt with the hounds”.
The National Conference working president in his hard-hitting commentary against Mehbooba said she wanted to “govern with the BJP and opposed their politics with us”.
“That is the crux of her dilemma — run with the hare and hunt with the hounds. She wants to govern with the BJP and oppose their politics with us,” Omar wrote on Twitter while commenting on the Chief Minister’s move to reach out to both New Delhi, which is adamant on scrapping Article 35-A, as well as the political parties in Kashmir which are threatening an agitation over the issue.
Omar’s comment comes at a time when Mehbooba Mufti, whose party governs the state in alliance with the BJP, is likely to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Congress chief Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi to discuss the legal challenges to Article 35-A.
Mehbooba had earlier met the opposition leaders in the state, including National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, and discussed “ways to protect” the Article.
The Article 35-A, 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 Assembly elections in the state.
A New Delhi-based RSS-linked NGO ‘We the Citizens’ filed a petition seeking the repealing of Article 35-A before the Supreme Court in 2014. The state government had earlier this year filed its response and sought dismissal of the petition. The Central government, however, did not file any affidavit opposing the writ petition; instead, it said it wanted a “larger debate” on it.
Omar’s National Conference party was the first to raise an alarm over the possible scrapping of the Article. The party’s president had earlier this week warned of a “far greater agitation” if an attempt was made to abrogate it.
The possibility of the Article getting scrapped has united political parties in the region with mainstream as well as separatist groups issuing threats and warning of protests in defence of the state’s special status.
A loose coalition of separatist leaders has already called for a shutdown on Saturday in the region to protest against the possible scrapping of the Article, saying that it is being done to “alter the demography of the state”.