SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and opposition National Conference (NC) working president, Omar Abdullah, on Monday accused the BJP of stirring up regional passions over Article 35A of the Constitution in the State.
“The BJP is trying to engineer a regional divide in Jammu and Kashmir over Article 35A of the Constitution,” he alleged. He said if the reported assurance of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, to Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti, that there would be no fiddling with the special status of the State was true why then a counter affidavit has not been presented before the Supreme Court (SC) by the Centre to defend Article 35A, he asked.
Abdullah who was speaking at a daylong convention of the NC’s functionaries in Jammu said, "Instead of defending it, the Attorney General pitched for a larger debate on Article 35A”. He asked, “Why isn't the Central government formally defending Article 35A in the SC as per the wishes of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and as a custodian of the Constitution of India?”
Article 35A empowers the J&K Legislature to define ‘permanent residents’ of the State and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.