Any kind of tampering with Article 35A would end Jammu and Kashmir's accession with the Union of India and worsen the situation in the state to an extent never seen before, the Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti said on Monday. She also underscored the need for a joint strategy among all state's political parties for protection of the state's special position.
"Any unnecessary fiddling with it (Article 35A) or tampering with it will undermine and nullify any contract that legitimises J&K's accession with India. This (Article 35A) legitimises J&K's accession. But it will end if you (New Delhi) fiddle with it," Mehbooba said, addressing a press conference here.
She said if the constitutional provision, which defines J&K's permanent residents and accords them special rights, was tampered with, then nobody will be left to to uphold tricolor in J&K.
"I am making a humble plea that it (tampering with Article 35A) shouldn't happen," Mehbooba said.
She expressed concern that there has been no assurance on part of the government of India about protection of the Article, which is listed for hearing in the Supreme Court.
"I want to tell them (government of India) that don't play with fire and don't fiddle with Article 35A. If you do so, the consequences will be so serious which you have not seen from 1947," Mehbooba, the former chief minister, said.
Stating that J&K was a Muslim-majority state which acceded to India under certain conditions, Mehbooba said: "These conditions are there to preserve Muslim-majority status of the state. Any fiddling with Article 35A, which is part of Article 370, would nullify the state's accession with India."
Mehbooba said both Articles 35A and 370 preserve the identity of people of J&K. "We have our own identity, that of a Muslim majority state," she said.
The PDP chief urged all political parties to come together for a joint strategy for protection of the Article.
"I am in contact with Omar Abdullah sahab also for a strategy to ensure that there is no attack on the Article. We should all come together to chalk out the strategy," Mehbooba said, asking the government of India not to push people of J&K to the wall.
She maintained that in the prevailing situation, not elections but protection of J&K's interests and unique identity was a priority for the PDP.
She said it was unfortunate that J&K is made part of election strategy every time there are elections in India.
"Ahead of 2014 elections, Afzal Guru was hanged…At present, there are attempts being made to destabilise the situation in the state and create war hysteria to secure votes," she said.
Mehbooba said chaos and confusion was being created without any reason.
"In 2016, when Uri attack happened, I was put under pressure to launch a crackdown against separatists and religious leaders in Kashmir. I opposed such a directive. At present, it is condemnable that people from various religious organisations are being bundled in jails and nocturnal raids are becoming a routine," said the PDP president. She slammed the decision of withdrawing security of separatists and other political leaders in the state, terming it as "vendetta against those who dare to question and oppose the government policies".