National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah today (8 April) stated that attempts to remove Article 370 of the Constitution will lead to "freedom" for people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), reports Business Standard (BS).
Abdullah’s remarks come only hours after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) released its manifesto for the 2019 general elections. In the manifesto, the party promised to abrogate Article 35A and Article 370 that accord a special status to J&K within the Constitutional framework.
"They talk of abrogating Article 370. 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," said Abdullah at an election rally in Srinagar, from where he is contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
The former chief minister claimed that if Article 370 were removed, no one would be left to hoist the national flag in Kashmir. "Let them do it, we will see. I will see who is ready to hoist their flag here. So don't do such things that break our hearts. Try joining the hearts, not breaking them.”
On Article 35A
On BJP’s promise to remove the Article 35A which gives powers to J&K’s state legislature to define who is a permanent resident of the state and who is not, the NC chief asked, "Do you know what is Article 35A? It gives you (people of state) the right to this place. Nobody from outside can buy land here or apply for jobs.
This was kept by Maharaja Hari Singh in 1927 so that the population of Dogras does not fall. It was not as much for us as much for them (Dogras). What do they want? Will they bring people from outside and settle them here to dilute our numbers?"