Article 35A neither a charity nor a concession: Naeem Akhtar

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Friday alleged that the BJP government at the Centre was trying to convert the constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India into an “occupation”.

“BJP is trying very hard to convert legal and constitutional relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union into an occupation through subterfuge and systemic subversion,” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar said in a statement here.

Akhtar was reacting to Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s blog in which he had stated that Article 35-A was “constitutionally vulnerable”.

“It is unfortunate that Sangh Parivar has fielded one of the better known lawyers of the country to oppose the Supreme Court orders which have upheld Article-35-A not once but twice in the past,” the former state minister said.

It seems the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is the ideological mentor of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), considers itself above the apex court, he said.

“That is why Jaitley has chosen to patronisingly pronounce that Article 35-A is constitutionally vulnerable”, he said.

Jaitley, perhaps, needs not to be told that the framing and the approval of the Constitution and its development is not an isolated event but it has a political constitutional history behind it, which the RSS and some of their allies in the media try to overlook in pursuit of votes, he said further.

Stating that the Sangh was selectively invoking history, Akhtar said while they were re-opening the files pertaining to the reign of Mughal king Babar in Ayodhya and digging up 500-year-old graves, in J-K’s case, they were not willing to have a look at the contemporary history which was an essential part of nation building in South Asia.

“The accession by Jammu and Kashmir to the Union of India was perhaps the most exciting experiment in the formation of modern, secular and inclusive nation but unfortunately the Sangh Parivar and its ilk in other parties have from time to time reduced this relationship to an uneasy sufferance,” Akhtar said.

He said the accession was degenerated virtually into a forced marriage through repeated letdowns, erosion of authority of the state and deception.

Akhtar said Jaitley should know more than anybody else about the laws of the state and that the Article 35-A was not in anyway a hurdle in investment in the state.

“The state subject and land laws in Jammu and Kashmir have ample room for investment by non-state subjects whether in power sector, tourism, industries or education,” he said.

“That is how most of the industrial activity in Jammu is run by non- state subject investors. Similarly, there are joint ventures with top brands in hospitality industry thriving in the state,” added the PDP leader.

Akhtar said the constant attempts by the BJP to destabilise Jammu and Kashmir by threatening to do away with this special status has caused a reverse.

“If the BJP is sincere in bringing back peace to the state, it should follow what Vajpayee had done during his tenure in cooperation with Mufti Mohammad Sayeed,” he said.

“It is unfortunate that the Sangh Parivar demonises Nehru who was one of the architects of the accession along with Sheikh Abdullah and on the other hand refuse to follow their own Prime Minister Vajpayee in finding a away out of trouble,” he added.

Akhtar said that Article 35-A was neither a charity to the people of Jammu and Kashmir nor a concession.

“It is our right because Jammu and Kashmir in spite of having been an overwhelmingly Muslim majority, the state had decided to throw its lot with a secular country which is increasingly refusing to stay secular under BJP,” he added.

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