Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have united against the BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi over his call for debate on the special status to Jammu and Kashmir enshrined in Constitution under Article 370. Leading the charge is Omar Abdullah’s National Conference (NC) which has warned that revocation of the special status would automatically mean that J&K is no longer part of India.
“This (Article 370) is the only bridge between India and rest of J&K. If this bridge breaks, J&K will no longer be part of India. Article 370 is part of the first Constitution which governs the relations between New Delhi and Srinagar based on the instrument of accession of Maharja Hari Singh,” Mustafa Kamal, additional general secretary of NC and Omar’s uncle, told dna.
Kamal said Article 370 is the permanent feature of the Constitution till such time a settlement with Pakistan is arrived at. He said Article 370 cannot be amended wholly or partly without the consent of state subjects of J&K. “Just because Modi is saying will Parliament debate it? And before thinking of debating Article 370, the state legislature necessarily needs to be taken into confidence,” he said.
Main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) too has jumped into bandwagon saying even the Parliament is not mandated to review or scrap Article 370. “Even the Article 1 determining the territory of the country applies to J&K by virtue of Article 370 only. Scrap this bridge with rest of the country and the entire gamut of accession and related issues stare in your face. Modi’s raking up of Article 370 is a very disturbing indicator of his approach to sensitivities of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, PDP patron and former chief minister.
Kashmiri Pandits living in exile, however, have thrown their weight behind Gujarat chief minister saying it needs to be clarified that the Article 370 is a temporary provision.