Stating that Kashmiri separatists have to be included in any form of dialogue, senior Congress leader Mani Shankar Aiyar on Saturday came in defence of Article 35A suggesting that it should remain in the constitution of India so that Kashmiris don't feel threatened.
Aiyar was speaking at a seminar "Discussion on J&K and Indo-Pak relations" organized by Centre for Peace and Progress, here.
"I wish Article 35A to remain in Indian constitution so that people of Kashmir won't feel fearful. And the right which they have for last 90 years should remain with them," Aiyar told reporters.
Aiyar's suspension was revoked by Congress president Rahul Gandhi last Saturday. The former Union minister had been suspended from the primary membership of the Congress after he had made a remark on Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the Gujarat Assembly elections in December last year.
"I am saying we must not touch the issue of Article 35A. It is in our constitution and one must not make any attempt to revoke it. Some people are unnecessarily raking up the issue which is not in anyone's interest," he said.
"The issue is now in the Supreme Court and I hope that the Supreme Court will decide the issue in the national interest and I hope and it is my wish that (Article) 35A should be kept in our Constitution so that people here do not feel any kind of threat that their rights, which have been there for the last 90 years, are being taken away," Aiyar said.
Asked if BJP was raising the issue for political gains in the general elections next year, Aiyar said: "I want to only repeat what you have said, but I have been taken back into Congress recently so, do not ask me to talk about it".
He said the separatists in the Valley have to be included in any form of dialogue to address Kashmir issue.
Those who were present during the discussions included MY Targami, Professor Saifu-din-Soz, Ghulam Hassan, Hashim Qureshi and Muzzafer Shah.