Lawyers in Jammu on Tuesday pitched for strengthening Articles 370 and 35-A at a time when campaign against J&K’s special status by rightwing organisations has gained momentum.
A meeting was organised here by prominent lawyers affiliated with the Jammu Bar Association. The speakers appealed for protection of special status terming it a link between India and Jammu & Kashmir.
The meeting was organised under the chairmanship of former Senior Additional Advocate General Subash Chander Gupta where prevailing situation in Jammu and Kashmir was discussed.
Gupta appealed the masses to remain united and not to be mislead by those who are “trying to create wedge among different sections of the society.”
Gupta vehemently urged that the issue of accession of the State should not be examined on religious lines.
“Art 370 establishes relation of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India. It is wrongly projected by the people that it separates Jammu and Kashmir from India,” Gupta told Greater Kashmir.
“New Delhi has to show big heart. The special status should be discussed threadbare so that misunderstanding among people can be removed. There should be no hurry to revoke the special status since J&K already belongs to India. The propaganda must be stopped as it has created scare among the people.”
“An atmosphere is being created though social media, and media with a motive to mislead people about Art 370 and Art 35-A so that special status can be tinkered with,” he said while expressing dismay over the prevailing situation in the society which has ‘divided opinion between two communities.’
“If anything is to be decided about Jammu and Kashmir, it is to be decided by the people of the State. India and Pakistan can only be sitting parties,” he said.
He further said, “If it is tinkered in any way, it would touch the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with Union of India. Tinkering with special status would benefit those who are anti-India, and would hurt interests of those who want State should remain with India,” he responded.
“Situation is being created by giving a communal colour to special status. It is not about a community,” he clarified again.
Former president, Jammu Bar Association, AV Gupta also urged for retention of special status of the State and said any tinkering with Article 35-A would have “serious repercussions.”
KK Pangotra, former Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI) said tinkering with Article 35-A will amount to “constitutional blunder and will create further divide in the State of J&K.”
Advocate MR Qureshi highlighted the importance of Article 35-A.