As Arunachal boils, Omar warns Delhi over fallout of scrapping Article 35A
With the Supreme Court set to hear petitions challenging the constitutional validity of Article 35A, the National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Monday warned New Delhi that any fiddling with J&K's special status will have "serious and far-reaching consequences" in the state.
Addressing party workers here, the former chief minister asked New Delhi and governor Satya Pal Malik to leave the defence of the constitutional provision to a new government that would be elected after the assembly polls.
Referring to New Delhi, Omar said: "They threaten us every day with (scrapping) Article 35A…if you (New Delhi) fiddle with Article 35A, the situation will become even worse in Kashmir".
The Article 35A is a provision in the constitution of India which defines state subjects in Jammu and Kashmir and grants special rights to permanent residents of the state.
For the past some days, the situation in Kashmir has been tense after the J&K police launched an overnight crackdown on Jamaat-e-Islami cadres, arresting its chief and more than 150 members from different parts of the Valley.
Senior resistance leader Muhammad Yasin Malik has also been detained.
There is a talk going on that the government of India may push for abrogation of the Article 35A.
These fears have gained ground after New Delhi's decision to rush additional 100 companies of central armed forces personnel to the state and deploy some companies of the Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police in the summer capital Srinagar.
Some advisories issued by the government, described by many as freighting, have added to the panic across the Valley. The government has put all hospitals on alert and cancelled vacations of all doctors. Talks about a confrontation between India and Pakistan following a car bomb attack on a central reserve police force (CRPF) convoy along the Srinagar-Jammu highway on February 14 have also added to the panic.
"I want to tell the Centre to check the situation in Arunachal Pradesh. There is no militancy and no stone-pelting there. But the entire state has been set on fire following a change in the permanent residence certificate," Omar said.
Today, he said, the government of India has made amendments to the PRC in the southern state and the situation has become so bad there that the people have set the deputy chief minister's house on fire.
"Any misadventure of fiddling with the J&K's special status would have serious and far-reaching consequences in the state", Omar said, cautioning that the situation will be "worse than what it is in Arunachal Pradesh."
The situation in AP should act as an eye-opener for "those" who are inimical to Articles 370 and 35A, he said.
Omar said it was his duty to warn the government of India about the consequences of any fiddling with the state's special status.
"I am not threatening you, but it is my duty to warn you. It is my duty to tell New Delhi that your thinking is not right," he said.
He reiterated that New Delhi and the governor-led administration in Jammu and Kashmir should leave the defence of the state's special position to the elected government.
"They should leave it to us. Their only responsibility is to create conducive atmosphere for the elections. Ensure that and the new government will do the job of saving Article 35A itself. We know the situation better here, so do not venture into this," Omar said, addressing the government of India.
Referring to Prime Minister NarendraModi's statement on Kashmir a few days ago, Omar said though the PM spoke on Kashmir saying "our fight is not against Kashmiris and but against gun", there is "no action" on the ground.
Unless Modi's words are being acted upon by his office and unless you stop party members and members of SanghParivar from committing attacks on Kashmiris, these words wouldn't mean anything, he said.
"Even today, Kashmiris are being attacked (in many states), if not regularly, but the attacks are happening. People are being caught in trains and asked to raise 'Pakistan murdabad' slogans. This is after your (Modi's) statement. We welcome your statement but it should have an impact on the ground. If not openly, you can tell these Bajrang Dal people and others to stop these attacks behind closed doors," said Omar.
"What is our crime? Is it that we want talks and peace," Omar asked. He said the people in Kashmir have been witnessing sleepless nights and have become victims of rumors.
He also talked about a "strange" order issued by the state administration that talks about rationing of fuel, completing sale of food grains from ration depots and stocking up on medicines in hospitals.
"And then the people in police who play bands were asked to get ready for handling the law and order situation," Omar said, adding that the "frightening" situation compelled the National Conference president Farooq Abdullah to talk about the situation in Kashmir (with home minister Rajnath Singh).
Omar also said the "third front" was being "contrived" to ensure that a single party with a strong mandate doesn't emerge from Kashmir. "The idea behind forging the third front is to ensure that the mandate of the people of Kashmir is split. However this trend is not seen in Ladakh or Jammu regions of our state. Why is it that such trends only emerge in the Valley? The forces are hell bent to destroy special status of our state and have been contriving to create a leader in every street of Kashmir," he said.