Article 370 Can't Be Abolished: Jammu And Kashmir Parties

8 April 2014
The New Indian Express
Fayaz Wani

Srinagar: The ruling alliance partners in Jammu and Kashmir - the National Conference and Congress - along with Opposition PDP on Monday criticised the BJP for demanding abolishment of Article 370 in its manifesto and said the act was 'non-negotiable' and could not be abrogated. 'The National Conference will never allow Article 370, which gives special status to J&K, to be abolished,' NC chief Farooq Abdullah told reporters after filing his nomination papers for Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary seat. He was reacting to BJP's manifesto that sought the abrogation of Article 370. During his rally in Jammu last year, BJP's prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi had said that his party would discuss the pros and cons of Article 370, Farooq said. 'However, there was no discussion and now the party in its manifesto favours abrogation of Article 370.' Calling the BJP leaders liars, he said they never wanted a discussion and their only motive was to abolish Article 370, which he said he wouldn't allow. Farooq's son and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who accompanied his father, said Article 370 could not be removed from the Constitution. 'We cannot abrogate Article 370 without reopening the question of accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India. If the BJP is ready to reopen the question, we have no problem.' He then went on to say that the BJP-led NDA never did anything about the Common Civil Code, Ram Mandir issue and Article 370 when they were in power. 'When I was part of the NDA, no effort was made. The BJP is trying to mislead the people of the country by raising these issues'. J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief Saif-ud-Din Soz termed the BJP manifesto calling for abolishing of Article 370 an 'election gimmick'. 'During every election, the BJP raises issues like Common Civil Code, Ram Temple issue and Abrogation of Article 370. But to achieve these goals is impossible for the BJP,' he told reporters in Srinagar. Soz said there was no Modi wave in Jammu or country. 'The BJP is creating impression that there is a Modi-wave in the country but it is not true'. Opposition PDP patron and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said Article 370 is non-negotiable, irrevocable and those talking about its abrogation are ignorant about the constitutional position of the state and are misleading people of the country. Taking a dig at Modi for backtracking from his earlier statement that he would follow Atal Behari Vajpayee's policy on Kashmir, he said, 'Article 370 provides the mechanism for a constitutional relationship between the state and rest of the country and it cannot be abrogated without bringing into question the fundamentals of that relationship.' He said by reviving issues of Article 370 and Ram Mandir, the BJP could destabilise the society which a country with India's diversity could never afford. Warning that the PDP would resist any attempt at dilution of J&K's special position guaranteed by the Constitution, Mufti said, 'By reviving the old rhetoric, the BJP is simply negating the policies of Vajpayee and such a policy has everything in it to hurt the sensibilities of the people of J&K and prospects of reducing the trust deficit it suffers with rest of the country.' 'Vajpayee reached out to the people of J&K and had vowed to resolve the Kashmir issue under the ambit of insaniyat (humanity). Vajpayee had reached out to Pakistan even in the wake of Kargil and parliament attacks which set a new agenda of peace and resolution, something that the BJP must emulate if the Kashmir issue has to be resolved and a new chapter of peace and progress has to be written ,' he added.