Kashmir's mainstream will perish if Article 35A scrapped: Er Rasheed

Mainstream politics will “perish” in Kashmir if Government of India tinkers with Article 35A, Peoples United Front (PUF) leader Er Rasheed said on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference here Rasheed said any move to abrogate Article 35A or Article 370 will shrunk the space for “people who are working for New Delhi’s interests here”.

“First you (New Delhi) tried to destroy entire separatist leadership through different ways. Now, you are attacking mainstream leadership. You are shrinking space for your own people in Kashmir,” he said.

Referring to Abdullahs and Muftis, who advocate solution to Kashmir imbroglio under the ambit of constitution, Rasheed said if the State’s special status was tinkered with, all mainstream politicians will be left with nothing to go back to people.

Rasheed said the Union Home Ministry’s order to deploy 100 additional companies of paramilitary forces in J&K has set all kinds of rumors afloat.

He said there were rumors that Article 35-A or Article 370 will be done away with. “There are also talks about settlement of refugees, elections, delimitation of (Assembly segments). Our only appeal to central government is that don’t make Jammu and Kashmir a battlefield for your political gains,” he said.

Rasheed warned the Centre that any move to tinker with the State’s special status will be akin to “digging grave for your own interests” in Kashmir.

“…this way you are playing into the hands of those whom you call your enemies. You are doing something which Pakistan couldn’t do,” he said.

“…It will prove that you don’t believe in your own constitution. Does it mean then that people who formed constitution are anti-national….If you try to scrap Article 35-A or Article 370, you are challenging wisdom of your forefathers. You are challenging wisdom of Jawaharlal Nehru, AtalBihari Vajpayee, SardarVallabhai Patel…,” he said

He said Kashmir issue will remain there till it is resolved. “It is creation of partition. It is baggage of the history. Address it,” he asked New Delhi.

He appealed people from Jammu and Ladakh division to understand importance of the State’s special status.

“Their silence would be absolute tragedy. Constitutional guarantees have also be accorded to Himachal Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and North East areas…Why are you so nervous when it comes to Kashmir?” he said

Responding to a question Rasheed said he will initiate process to bring all Kashmir-based mainstream parties together to stop the “assault” on the State’s special status.

Meanwhile, Rasheed said crackdown on Kashmiri mainstream politicians seems “selective”.

Rasheed said while he was the first person to appreciate the Governor Satya Pal Malik’s clampdown against corruption, but now it seems it is “selectively” aimed at Kashmiri politicians.

“When Governor sahab launched war against corruption, I was the first man to welcome this step, but today we are feeling that it is selective. Although we have political differences with leaders including Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah , Sajad Lone, Naem Akhtar. For the last 50 years there were allegations against Abdul Rahim Rather, why only today an IT raid was conducted against him,” he said, adding that the move was aimed to “demoralize” Kashmiri’s mainstream leadership.

Rasheed said the drive against mainstream Kashmiri politicians only indicates the move was aimed to “discredit’ them.

Referring to recent decision of the Government to open Kashmir Golf Course for public, he said different criteria were used to deal with different regions of the State.

“It is a welcome thing that Golf Club was opened for public. Administration must understand that there is also Golf Club at Sidhra in Jammu. It is open to elites only. So, why not to open for public?” he asked.

“Why administration finds nepotism in Kashmir only?” he questioned.