Mehbooba opposes repeal of Kashmir's special status - Newspaper

What is Article 35 A and why is its scrapping being sought

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's assurance to Mehbooba Mufti regarding the continuance of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, as revealed by the Chief Minister to the media, has not ended tension between allies BJP and Mufti's PDP, with the state unit of the national party still advocating Article 370's abrogation, sources told The Sunday Guardian.

Jammu and Kashmir BJP spokesperson Prof Virender Gupta spoke to DNA's Manan Kumar about the ongoing controversy on Article 35 (A) and 370.

Opposition National Conference (NC) on Saturday demanded a statewide referendum on Jammu and Kashmir's special status enshrined in the Constitution.

While, the PDP and BJP have a coalition in Jammu and Kashmir, both the parties are not on the same page regarding the issue.

Transcending the ideological divide, Article 35A has brought the mainstream, separatists and all other sections of society together on a common cause. People of Jammu and Kashmir feel that their identity will be in danger.

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When Article 35A was introduced in 1954 it superseded J&K state subject law enacted by Maharaja in 1927.

Kashmir is witnessing a political storm following the Attorney-General's suggestion to the Supreme Court in July "to have a larger debate on Article 35A" while it is being challenged by an NGO.

Political scientist, Prof Gull Wani, said in the present day society, there are very few democratic voices in India to speak for Kashmiris as there has been a change of character across India. "The time has come when the people of Jammu & Kashmir should say goodbye to Article 370 and ask the government of India to revoke Article 35 A", he said.

"It is a shield for the backward people of Jammu and Kashmir", he said. "It is a sensitive and debatable issue and it will be kept in public domain so as to take on board people of all three regions of the state including civil societies, " said state Congress vice-president Sham Lal Sharma.

"Mehbooba initially showed reluctance in taking over as the CM saying she first wanted New Delhi to implement AoA by returning at least two power projects back to the State", he said. "If the GoI will scrap the Article 35-A then whole Article 370 will collapse its own". The Article defines exclusive rights of locals in J&K over jobs, immovable property and scholarships. After the meeting, Mehbooba Mufti said that she discussed host of issues including Article 35A with the Prime Minister.

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