No One Will Hold Tricolour in Kashmir If Art-370 Tampered With: Mufti

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New Delhi— Rift between the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP became starkly visible Friday when Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti launched a veiled attack on her alliance partner in the state on host of key issues.

Without explicitly saying so, the Chief Minister conveyed her difference with BJP on three key issues — on holding dialogue with Pakistan, on arrests of Hurriyat leaders, and on Kashmir’s special status.

Speaking at an event, Understanding Kashmir, in the capital organised by the Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals, Mehbooba Mufti warned that, “If special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir are tinkered with, then there would be no one in the state to hold the (Indian) tricolour”.  

She said, on the one hand, “we talk about resolving the Kashmir issue under the framework of the Constitution and on the other hand we flog it”.    

“Who is doing it? Why are they doing it? (challenging the Article 35A). Let me tell you that my party and other parties who carry the national flag there (in Jammu and Kashmir) despite all risks… I have no doubt in saying that there will be no one to hold it.   

“Any tinkering with the article won`t be acceptable. I won`t hesitate in saying that nobody will even carry the corpse of the National Flag in Kashmir (if the article is scrapped). Let me make it very clear,” she said at an event here on Kashmir.

The Chief Minister said that by employing such tactics, “you are not targeting separatists

Mehbooba went on to add, “Let me be very clear. By doing all this (challenging Article 35A), you are not targeting the separatists who have an agenda to secede but you are weakening the forces who have accepted India, participated in elections. They make efforts to integrate Jammu and Kashmir with India with respect and dignity. You are weakening them.”

The Article 35(A) is being challenged in the Supreme Court by NGO `We The Citizens` on its legal basis because the article was never presented before the Parliament and executed on the orders of President of India.

The provision was implemented in 1954 when then President Rajendra Prasad used the powers conferred on him by Article 370 to introduce the “Constitution (Application to Jammu and Kashmir) Order 1954”.

Under the article, citizens from other parts of the country cannot acquire immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir or take up employment with the state government.

The Supreme Court has now referred the case to a three-judge bench for a larger debate over it.

“There have been special provisions in the Constitution of India for the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Unfortunately, with the passage of time something happened somewhere that both sides started doing dishonesty,” Mehbooba said.    

Both the sides, she said while indicating towards the Centre and the state, may be became more greedy and the state had to suffer for the last 70 years.    

On Arrest Of Hurriyat Leaders

“Rather than addressing the problem, we took administrative measures like dismissal of government or making charges of conspiracy, sedition…we had all these things against separatists which at times led to their hangings, weapons exclusive to Kashmir and more security measures and increasing number of security people.    

“These administrative measures have not helped us to address the idea of Kashmir…,” Mufti said.

Replacing Azadi

“We need to find what exactly is going on in the mind of a teenager, what is compelling him to do it (throw stones). We need to replace the idea of Azadi with another idea, a better idea, but are we ready to do that? We may be able to contain the present situation but there still is so much distrust,”

She then drew attention to the 2005 working groups constituted to address the internal dimensions of the Kashmir issue.

“The working group reports (on Kashmir) have been thrown in the waste basket. We are not doing anything about that,” she said.

On Talks With Pakistan

“The PDP-BJP alliance has been on the belief and hope that we will be able to revive the magic of (former Prime Minister Atal Bihari) Vajpayee ji’s time… Vajpayee ji did it,” she said.

Citing the Lahore declaration in which Pakistan had assured that it will not allow its land to be used against anti-India activities, Mehbooba said, “We have to revive that… in spite of Kargil and attack on the Parliament house… We have had some setbacks but we need to revive it, if we want that the closed roads in Jammu and Kashmir open, then Pakistan’s positive contribution is very necessary,” she said.

On National Media    

The chief minister was critical of some television news channel anchors saying that they were trying to project Kashmir in a bad light. “I am sorry to say that this India, that the anchors are trying to project, is not what India is about and that is not the India I know,” she said as she stated that few channels were showing Kashmiris in a “bad light.”

She said when she sees the retired ‘beard-wallahs’ from the other side (Pakistan) and ‘mooch-wallahs’ from this side screaming at the top of their lungs on television news channels, she feels they are taking out their “frustrations” about so many wars that the two countries saw.

“I see that their eyes are bulging out, so much anger and some time they sweat too. I don’t want to be associated with this type of India or Pakistan…,” she said.

Mehbooba said she wants to see an India which feels the pain of Kashmir. “I want to see that India which accepted us on our conditions.

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