Nobody will hold Tricolor in Kashmir if Article 35A is tampered with, warns Mehbooba
Srinagar, July 29: At a time when the debate over the special constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir is on, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday said that if the Article 35(A) of the constitution or the Permanent Resident Act (35A)--a provision that empowers the state's permanent residents--is tampered with then nobody in the state will hold the Indian Tricolour.
The CM's warning holds significance as the Article 35(A) has been challenged in the Supreme Court.
The Article 35(A) of the constitution empowers the state legislature to define "permanent residents" and accord special rights and privileges to them.
Strongly defending the constitutional clause, Mehbooba said that any change in its status would invite repercussions and mean that nobody would be able to protect the Indian national flag in J&K.
The CM of J&K also praised former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. "For me India is Indira Gandhi. Maybe some people won't like it, but she was India. While I was growing up, she represented India for me," added Mehbooba.
Her statements on the Article 35(A) and Indira Gandhi are likely to irk her alliance partner, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Several members of the BJP are vocal against the special status granted to J&K.
Moreover, we all know how much the BJP loves to hate the former PM, especially for her role during the Emergency in 1975.
She said that mainstream parties like the National Conference (NC) and her own Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) risk their workers' lives who stand up and carry the national flag in Kashmir.
"Any tinkering with the article won't be acceptable. I won't hesitate in saying that nobody will even carry the corpse of the National Flag in Kashmir (if the article is scrapped). Let me make it very clear," she said at an event on Kashmir in Srinagar.
The CM said that by employing such tactics, "you are not targeting separatists who have an agenda to secede but you are weakening the forces who have accepted India, participated in elections. They make efforts to integrate J&K with India with respect and dignity. You are weakening them."
The Article 35(A) is being challenged in the Supreme Court by NGO--We The Citizens--on its legal basis because the article was never presented before Parliament and executed on the orders of President of India.
The provision was implemented in 1954 when then President Rajendra Prasad used the powers conferred on him by Article 370 to introduce the "Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954".
Under the article, citizens from other parts of the country cannot acquire immovable property in J&K or take up employment with the state government.
The Supreme Court has now referred the case to a three-judge bench for a larger debate over it.