Mehbooba links Kashmir’s relationship with India on basis of Article 370


Srinagar, Apr 28: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his remarks that Article 370 and Article 35A have caused "maximum damage" to the state, saying it was the basis of its relationship with the country.

"Article 370 is the basis of our relationship with the country and accession, and if the prime minister thinks Kashmir is in loss because of it, then they should leave Kashmir," Mufti told reporters in Kulgam district when asked about Modi's remarks.

Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir and limits Parliament's power to make laws concerning the state. Article 35A empowers the state assembly to define 'permanent residents' for bestowing special rights and privileges on them.

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In an interview to a private TV channel in Varanasi on Friday, the day he filed his nomination papers, PM Modi said Articles 370 and 35A have done "maximum damage" to Kashmir.

"We set up AIIMS and IIM in Kashmir but top professors are not ready to go there because they can't buy property there. The rents there are very high. There is no investment in J&K because investors feel they won't get land there," he had said.

The PM had also said the youth in Kashmir were not getting jobs.

"Kashmir is staring at bankruptcy. Terrorists have finished tourism in the state. There is no investment because of Articles 370 and 35A. Now, people in Kashmir feel there is a need for change," he had said.

Mehbooba also lashed out at the Congress and the National Conference for "not thinking of the state's special status when they were in power".

"When (Ghulam Nabi) Azad was the chief minister of the state, he allotted thousands of kanals of land to the (Amarnath) Shrine Board. (Why) did not he think of Article 370 at that time? He tore apart (Article) 370.

"Similarly, (NC founder) Sheikh (Mohammad Abdullah) accepted the chief minister's seat after signing the 1975 accord with the then prime minister Indira Gandhi," she said.

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Mufti said that she fought with the Modi government for two years to protect the special status of the state when the PDP-BJP coalition was in power.

"I told Modi in Delhi that if you tinker with (Article) 35A, then PDP will leave the government," the former chief minister said.

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