Peoples Democratic Party President Mehbooba Mufti on Monday said that abrogating Article 370 of the Constitution would lead to Jammu and Kashmir’s “freedom” from India. The article grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.
“If you free Jammu and Kashmir from Article 370, you will free the state from country as well,” she said, according to PTI. “I have said many times that Article 370 links Jammu and Kashmir with the country. When you break this bridge, India loses its legitimacy over the state. It becomes an occupational force.”
The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister was responding to a promise in the Bharatiya Janata Party’s manifesto for the 2019 General Elections to scrap Article 370 and annul Article 35A of the Constitution. Mufti said the BJP-led government at the Centre has failed in all areas, be it unemployment, farmer issues or price rise, and is therefore seeking ways to gain votes.
Mufti claimed that any change in the status of Jammu and Kashmir could threaten the whole region. “Jammu and Kashmir is already on a heap of explosives and we saw a glimpse of it in Pulwama,” she said, referring to an attack on a Central Reserve Police Force convoy on February 14 which killed 40 jawans. “If the BJP does not stop making such statements and give up such intentions, it will not only burn Jammu and Kashmir but the entire region...there are explosives in Kashmir. If you will light a spark, everything will go up in flames... there will be no Jammu and Kashmir or India left.”
Mufti also responded to reports that a case had been filed in the Delhi High Court seeking to debar her and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah from the elections for their comments. “Why waste time in court?” she tweeted. “Wait for BJP to scrap Article 370. It will automatically debar us from fighting elections since Indian Constitution won’t be applicable to J&K anymore.”
Meanwhile, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took a jibe at Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik for suggesting that there was no threat to Article 370 and Article 35A. “Recently J&K Governor claimed there was no threat to Art 370 & 35-A and that parties like mine were only using them to drum up fear in the elections,” he said in Twitter. “I hope his colleagues in the BJP send him a copy of their manifesto.”
Omar Abdullah also retweeted Congress leader Salman Anees Soz, who said that the BJP had been promising the safe return of Kashmiri Pandits to the Valley since 2009, and scrapping of Article 370 since 1984.
Farooq Abdullah had said on Monday that Jammu and Kashmir will get “freedom” from India if Article 370 is scrapped. “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.”
“Let them do it [repeal Article 370] we will see. I will see who is ready to hoist their flag here,” he said.
The 2019 General Elections will be held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results declared on May 23.