Even as the Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik has put all the speculations regarding the abrogation of Article 35A to rest, Kashmir seems to be grappling with disbelief. Malik on Wednesday said that “there is no plan at any level to abrogate Article 35A”. He reiterated that people should not pay heed to the rumours. “I assure you that there is no plan at any level to abrogate Article 35A this time, all what you are hearing are rumours being spread by some people with vested interests,” Malik said. The statement by the governor comes days after a slew of orders – one after another – created panic in the valley.
In the last few days, two major orders regarding dispatching 10,000 troops in the Valley and seeking details of mosques and its management came out in the public. The orders gave rise to the speculations that Centre is planning to abrogate Article 35A that confers special rights to the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Not just locals, but regional political parties in Kashmir came together, up in arms, against any possible attempt by the Centre to abrogate the article. Meanwhile, at a press conference yesterday, BJP national general secretary, Ram Madhav, said, “See whatever decision will be taken by the Modi government will be in the interests of the state and the country.”
Amid the panic, while Kashmir grabbed all the attention, In Jammu, a meeting was organised by the prominent lawyers under the chairmanship of former Senior Additional Advocate General S C Gupta to discuss the prevailing situation in the state.
Talking about how Article 350 binds the state with the Union of India, Senior Advocate A V Gupta told Greater Kashmir, “Art 370 establishes relation of Jammu and Kashmir with the Union of India. It is wrongly projected by the people that it separates Jammu and Kashmir from India.” He further stated, “New Delhi has to show big heart. The special status should be discussed threadbare so that misunderstanding among people can be removed. There should be no hurry to revoke the special status since J&K already belongs to India. The propaganda must be stopped as it has created scare among the people.”
Gupta highlighted the importance of the article for residents of both Jammu region and Kashmir and was reportedly quoted as saying, “State of Jammu & Kashmir is a backward State with meagre resources including employment opportunities and the biggest causality of scrapping of Article-35-A will be the educated unemployed youth of the State,” while adding that “J&K is the only State in India which enjoys a Constitutional Guarantee to free Education from Primary to Post Graduation Education and also includes professional education like Engineering and Medical Education.”
In the backdrop of the rising apprehensions and tense situation in the Valley, National Conference delegation headed by former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah met PM Modi today. The delegation including former CM Omar Abdullah and party MP Hasanayin Masoodi apprised the prime minister of the apprehensions of the people.
After the 20-minute long meeting, Abdullah took to Twitter to make the details public. In his tweet, he wrote, “I accompanied @JKNC_ President Dr Farooq Abdullah Sb & Hon MP Justice Masoodi Sb to a meeting with Hon @PMOIndia this morning. During the course of the meeting we briefed Modi Sb about our assessment of the current situation in the state.”
He further wrote, “We requested him that no precipitous steps of any sort should be taken that may result in situation in the state, particularly the valley, worsening. We specifically asked him to let subjudice matters be settled by the courts & other matters be settled by an elected government.”
It is said that the delegation also asked the PM to hold elections before the end of this year. Yesterday, Madhav urged Election Commission of India to hold elections in the state before January next year. Madhav also announced that the party will not form any alliance and will go solo this time. The party will contest on all 87 seats across the state. At the same time, we would want to see youth, individuals and other independent candidates to come forward and contest polls in Kashmir so that the state gets rid of the dynasty rule that has ruined J&K since decades. “We want an independent force to emerge against family rule in Kashmir,” Madhav said at the press conference in Srinagar.
Looking at the turn of the events, it is speculated that the elections will be held very soon in the state.