Regional Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday reiterated that the relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and New Delhi will be over if Article 370, that gives autonomous status to the state, is scrapped.
“If you break that bridge (Art 370)...then you will have to renegotiate relationship between India and Jammu & Kashmir,” she said while addressing party workers in Srinagar.
The PDP chief said there will be new conditions between India and J&K and that the “people would be forced to even think whether they want to join India or not.”
“A Muslim majority state, would it even want to stay with you (India)?” she asked.
Mehbooba was responding to remarks made by senior BJP leader and Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley who said that Article 35A is “constitutionally vulnerable” and is an impediment to the economic development of Jammu and Kashmir.
Earlier, National Conference leader and another former CM Omar Abdullah said repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status “will raise questions on the accession of the state to India as well.”
"If you want to debate Article 370 and Article 35A, then I am sorry, there will be questions raised on the accession as well, because accession was on these very terms,” Omar said.
Both Mehbooba and Omar have been warning that any tinkering of Article 370 and Article 35A would trigger political upheaval, with the PDP chief underlining that “it would be difficult for those who raise the flag of this country to even shoulder it” in the state.
Article 370 grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A empowers the state legislature to define the states "permanent residents" and their special rights and privileges.
Five petitions challenging Article 35A — it was incorporated in the Constitution in 1954 by an order of President Rajendra Prasad on the advice of the Jawaharlal Nehru Cabinet — are before the Supreme Court. The main petition filed by Delhi-based NGO ‘We the Citizens’ has been pending since 2014.