Defending Special Status

Published at August 10, 2017 02:17 AM 0Comment(s)3667views


Defending Special Status

In a first – mainstream political parties including both the ruling coalition partner PDP and the opposition led by NC, separatist leadership, civil society, traders and other apolitical groups – are on the same page to safeguard JK’s special status that has come under threat after inimical forces to the state taking legal course have launched fresh assaults on the sensitive Article 35-A. Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti while addressing a gathering in Budgam district said that the special powers enjoyed by the citizens of the state (J&K) need to be protected. Earlier the CM evinced a caveat against the crusade set out to get the better of Article 35-A and Article 370, the two Constitutional (Indian Constitution) provisions that guarantee the special status, when she said that if the Article is tinkered with there will be no one to hold the tricolor in the state. Some right-wing groups while taking exception to her bold statement even challenged the CM to give it a try. Nevertheless, the consensus on defending the provisions (Articles) has evolved at short notice; in just couple of days leaders of all shades have come out strongly to defend the status of the state. National Conference President Farooq Abdullah as an ally took it to the next level by daring New Delhi to try scrapping Article 35-A. Hurriyat Conference Chairman Syed Ali Geelani also cautioned New Delhi on carrying out “nefarious designs” in J&K. He asserted that the people of the state won’t allow anyone to alter or interfere with the integrity and special status of the state. Traders’ body had already offered its support and on Wednesday All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee joined hands to defend the provisions. That leaves a minority or fringe as a proponent of abrogating the Articles. There has been a danger lurking in the state about fault lines being established and made permanent to divide the opinions, interests and the people for petty political gains. The battle is now taking the shape of an all-out war with growing resentment over the conduct of New Delhi and the changed approach in the last few years. The call is unanimous, people of the state are against any move no matter how trivial that attempts to touch the sensitivity of the agreement between the state and the federal government. Any unilateral decision or move is going to be met with stiff resistance. Although seasoned leader like Farooq Abdullah has in the past also made a reference to supporting Hurriyat, and this time too said that they might take it to that level if needed, but it would be a great mistake to snub the caveat of the state leadership that has come as one voice one concern.                                       

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