BJP is playing with fire: J&K parties hit BJP over Articles 370, 35A poll pledge

The BJP’s manifesto for the general elections has stirred a hornets’ nest with political parties in Kashmir insisting that the proposal to scrap Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution is a dangerous move.

Mainstream political parties in Kashmir on Monday termed the BJP’s proposal to scrap Article 370 and Article 35 A in its manifesto as dangerous which will have far reaching consequences and will end relations of state with India.

The BJP in its election manifesto released in Delhi had said that party’s position on Article 370 has been the same since the time of the Jan Sangh. “We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state,” the document said.

It has evoked sharp criticism from the leaders of mainstream parties in J&K, only BJP has welcomed it and termed these acts impediment in the development of the state.

“Recently J&K Governor claimed there was no threat to Art 370 & 35-A and that parties like mine were only using them to drum up fear in the elections. I hope his colleagues in the BJP send him a copy of their manifesto,’’ tweeted former J&K chief minister and NC vice president Omar Abdullah.

NC president Farooq Abdullah at a rally in Srinagar warned that scrapping the two articles would end Kashmir’s accession to India. ‘You (PM) think by removing Article 370 and Article 35 A our rights could be usurped. We will fight against it, and if you remove 370 it will end our accession with India and we will get freedom.’’

PDP president and former J&K chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti said the BJP was playing with fire which will turn entire region into ashes. “BJP has failed on all the fronts, whether it was providing jobs to people or ending the problems of farmers or reducing price rise. Now, the BJP is raking such issues through which it will try to garner votes. Article 370 binds J&K with India and acts as a bridge. When this bridge is demolished then India’s control over Kashmir becomes illegal and it becomes an occupational force.’

Mehbooba said that J&K is already sitting on the keg of fire… “If they (BJP) will continue with their intentions then it’s going to turn not only country but entire region into ashes. It’s a warning to BJP that they are playing with the fire. From 70 years people are fighting and if we are setting free Article 370, then you are also free Jammu and Kashmir.

Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress president, Ghulam Ahmad Mir said that Article 370 was provided by Congress and they will defend it. “The BJP has nothing to offer to the people and now they are raking these issues. Our party has given this act and we are going to defend it at all the costs.’’

BJP’s former ally and Peoples Conference chairman, Sajjad Lone also termed the propose removal of Article 370 as disaster. “Article 370 and 35A are sacred. The only space for movement in this regard is reversal of the erosions. Any other reckless thought or comment seeking removal is a disaster,’’ said Sajjad Lone

BJP state spokesman, Altaf Thakur, however, termed the removal of Article 370 and 35A a core issue of the BJP. “Article 370 is against development of the state and Article 35A is anti women and we want removal of both these acts. There is nothing new in this.’’

The Supreme Court is hearing a clutch of petitions to scrap Article 35 A.