‘BJP has Directly Challenged J&K’s Constitutional Autonomy’

JAMMU: Following a two-judge bench High Court stay order on Friday on hoisting of state flag alongside national flag on constitutional buildings, the opposition National Conference expressed its respect and deference towards the proceedings and observations of the High Court.

It said the State Flag of Jammu and Kashmir continues to derive its validity and sanctity from the Constitution of J&K which is a fact that cannot be wished away in the din of political rhetoric and statements.

Asserting that he fully supports the two-flag order, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah lashed out at incumbent Mufti Muhammad Sayeed for not defending the state’s dignity from the ‘nefarious plans of allies’.

“If Mufti Syed can’t defend the state’s dignity & flag from the nefarious plans of his allies he should step down & find someone who can,” Omar said.

“Here’s what I will say- so long as J&K is a part of India the two flags will continue to fly and we’ll take pride in it,” he added.

“Why is only J&K expected to respect the terms of accession while the rest of the country can disregard them with impunity?” he said in a series of tweets.

 “The fact that BJP leaders had directly appealed for a stay order on the earlier High Court order clearly reveals BJP’s intentions to try and abrogate Article 370 and harm the attributes of the State’s Constitutional Autonomy while its alliance partner, the PDP is complicit in this nefarious conspiracy – as proved by PDP’s deafening silence,” a party statement said.

“We respect the proceedings and observations of the Honourable High Court of Jammu and Kashmir.”

“As far as we understand, the stay order issued by the Division Bench in Jammu is a stay order and it has not overturned or overruled the earlier order on this issue,” the statement added. “We are certain the constitutional validity of the State Flag will be upheld by the Court of Law and we have no doubt in our minds that the J&K High Court is committed to upholding the Constitution in letter and spirit.”

The statement adds: “While the matter is under judicial review and the proceedings are underway, we want to draw attention of the people to the fact that this appeal for a stay order was filed by a BJP leader, Farooq Khan and the case was represented in the court by BJP Spokesperson, Advocate Sunil Sethi. In view of these facts, it is evident that the BJP is directly mounting a legal offensive to challenge the State’s Constitutional Autonomy and its attributes. PDP’s continued nexus with the BJP in J&K makes PDP complicit and culpable in these designs and the party’s surrender viz-a-viz Article 370 and the State’s special status has now been completely exposed.” 

The NC Spokespersons said Section 144 of the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir provides for a State Flag which neither contests the protocol nor the sanctity of the National Flag. “J&K has a separate constitution and the State’s constitutional link to the rest of the country is Article 370. Article 370 provides J&K with the right to have its own Constitution and any attributes of this Constitutional Autonomy cannot be selectively nor unilaterally challenged or tinkered with in contravention to the provisions of the Constitution,” the NC Statement said.

“We have firm faith in the wisdom of the Honourable High Court in upholding the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and Article 370 of the Constitution of India,” the joint statement added.

“Now that BJP’s has openly declared its intentions to challenge the State’s Constitutional Autonomy, PDP’s continuation in this unholy, opportunistic nexus with the BJP makes PDP a party to this plan. National Conference will continue to espouse and articulate the cause of the State’s Internal Autonomy and will continue to seek the reversal of all erosions. We stand with the people of the State in their sentiments and sensitivities on this important issue,” the NC statement further said.

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