National Conference Chief Farooq Abdullah on Monday said that if the Bharatiya Janata Party repeals Article 370 of the Constitution, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, the state will “get freedom” from the rest of India, PTI reported.
“They [the BJP] talk of abrogating Article 370,” Abdullah said at an election rally in Srinagar, from where he is contesting the Lok Sabha elections. “If you do that, the accession will also not stand. I swear by Allah, I think this is the wish of almighty, we will get freedom from them.”
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister’s comment came hours after the BJP, in its election manifesto, reiterated its intent of abrogating Article 370. It also said it was committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution, which grants special rights and privileges pertaining to jobs, and property ownership, among other things, to those defined as “permanent residents” of the state. Jammu and Kashmir acceded to the Indian Union in 1947. Article 370 came into force in 1950.
Speaking about the promise to repeal Article 35A, Abdullah said, “They think they will bring people from outside, settle down, reduce our numbers. Will we keep sleeping? We will fight this.”
Abdullah said the BJP should not do something that “breaks the hearts” of people of Kashmir. “Let them do it [repeal Article 370] we will see. I will see who is ready to hoist their flag here,” he said.
He alleged that the BJP was trying to alter the state’s demography. “Yes, we are a Muslim majority state and there is no doubt about that,” he said. “Try as much as you want but you can’t change it. You think by removing Article 35A, you will usurp our rights. Will we take this lying down? We will fight it.”
People’s Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti had earlier warned the BJP that these provisions formed the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir’s decision to accede to the Indian Union after Independence and that the state will not be a part of the country if the special status was removed. National Conference leader Omar Abdullah too had cautioned the BJP against talking of repealing the Constitutional provisions.