The former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that the leadership of the state, regardless of their politics, owed it to the future generations to safeguard and protect Article 35-A from all overt and covert machinations sponsored by the powers that be.
Addressing a workers' convention of the party at Khan Sahib on Wednesday, Omar said that the rank and file of National Conference was ready to go to any extent to protect the state's honour and political identity.
"We owe it to our future generations to safeguard and protect our political identity and special status that our ancestors and our founding leaders fought for. The forces that are sponsoring these elaborate assaults on the state's special status have been inimical to the State's interests and political identity from the very first day and we fought them then and we will fight them now", the NC Vice President said.
"Had National Conference not raised this crucial issue in the Legislative Assembly, left to the PDP-BJP Government of Mehbooba Mufti, the Article would have been undefended in the Supreme Court. The PDP-BJP Government dragged its feet on this critical issue of enormous importance to every single citizen of the State and succumbed to pressure from the BJP. They gave an impression of surrender and weakness to those powers and lobbies who were emboldened and are now brazenly attacking our political honour and rights", the NC Vice President added.
The NC Vice President said that besides re-engineering the demography of the State, the absence of Article 35-A would rob J&K's youth of jobs, scholarships and avenues of growth and prosperity. "The recent example of the DM seats that were allotted in the State should open everyone's eyes. The Government removed the precondition of having a State Subject certificate as an eligibility criterion and this year 9 out of 14 seats have gone to non-J&K residents. If 35-A is abrogated this is what will happen with our youth in every institution, department and sector. Our land which was given to its tillers without any fees or compensation extracted wont remain ours in the absence of Article 35-A", Omar said.
"Not only did we evolve a consensus for protecting the Article on the grassroots level, we have also filed an intervention plea in the Supreme Court and have retained a team of lawyers to defend Article 35-A. Those people who have suddenly realised that they were drinking from a cup of poison for the last three years have chosen to not defend the Article. Senior PDP Leader, Muzaffar Baig is a lawyer in the Supreme Court and despite this fact he is not defending the Article. PDP's tacit understanding with the powers that be continues despite the party being ditched by their ally. PDP is not coming forward with an unambiguous stand and face because it is a party that has always acted as a Trojan Horse to weaken the State from within", the NC Vice President said.
"Till yesterday Mehbooba Mufti was terming her alliance with the BJP akin to drinking from a cup of poison and today the same Mehbooba Mufti instructed PDP's two Rajya Sabha MPs to abstain from voting in the election for the Deputy Chairman of the Rajya Sabha. This abstention helps the BJP in this tightly contested race and goes on to prove that PDP and BJP are still in a tactical alliance that has ulterior and hidden motives to rob the State of its political identity," he said.