Mehbooba Mufti hails PM Modi’s remark, ally BJP says call on Article 35A not now

Hours after she hailed the united stand of J&K mainstream parties on Article 35 A saying “when it comes to safeguarding our status, we are one… like a fist’’, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s remarks Tuesday that separatism can only be defeated by embracing Kashmiris and not through violence.

In a statement, Mehbooba Mufti said she has all along believed that only dialogue and peaceful means can help in resolving issues because the futility of violence has been established. “The slogan, Bandook se na goli se/Baat banegi boli se (neither guns nor bullets, only dialogue can resolve the issue), coined by the PDP some 15 years ago, is as relevant today as it was then,” she said.

In Jammu, Mehbooba Mufti’s alliance partner and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said the BJP will take a call on issues like Article 370 and Article 35 A when it forms a government on its own in J&K.

“The BJP stand on Article 370 and Article 35 A is very clear and we still stick to our stand,’’ Singh told reporters after the Independence Day parade. “If people of Jammu & Kashmir give us 44 plus seats in the legislative assembly, we will take a call. But today, the government is sticking to the Agenda of Alliance in which we have agreed to maintain status quo on constitutional provisions,’’ he said.

Former chief minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah said the Prime Minister’s words on Kashmir have been very well received by people here but everyone is weary of more talk and no concrete action.

In tweets, Abdullah said: “The proof of the pudding is in the eating. We look forward to being embraced in the warm grip of understanding, acceptance & respect. That respect must include respect for the unique status J&K enjoys within the Constitution of India that sets it apart from all other states.’’

Hurriyat chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq also welcomed the remarks of the Prime Minister. “Welcome @narendramodi also believes ‘Goli & gaali will not help resolve Kashmir’ if insaniyat & insaaf replace them. Resolution can become a Reality,’’ he tweeted.

Addressing the Independence Day parade at the Bakshi stadium in Srinagar, Mehbooba Mufti said the fight for the chair was different. “When it comes to safeguarding our status, we are one. One like a fist,’’ she said, referring to the unity shown by leaders of mainstream parties on the issue of Article 35 A.

She had met National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah and three mainstream leaders and sought their advice on Article 35 A. She later met Prime Minister Modi and Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

“Our senior leader Farooq Abdullah sahib gave me an opportunity to meet him. I sought advice… I am thankful to him that he, like an affectionate father, listened to me and gave me some advice on which I worked,’’ she said.

She said Parliament had decided that J&K was special and different from other states. “Here, every kind of people live, our culture is different. It was decided that J&K will be given a separate and special position in the Constitution of India. It was given to us.”
“Instead of becoming friends, we became enemies of each other. Some mistakes were done by Delhi. We also made some mistakes. The result is the continuous violence happening from last 30 years.”

“Some people here say we should go back to 1947. Similarly, there are people in this country who, on one pretext or the other, go to the Supreme Court. But I believe my Supreme Court. Whenever there have been attempts to raise fingers on the status of J&K, the Supreme Court has dismissed it,’’ she said, adding she believes that this issue too will be dismissed.

Underlining that the Agenda of Alliance made it clear that dialogue with all stakeholders in the state was the way forward, Mehbooba Mufti said: “Pakistan will also understand the need for peaceful engagement with India. And the central government will also undertake a broad-based outreach, treating issues within the ambit of humanity as initiated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.’’

or the other, go to the Supreme Court. But I believe my Supreme Court. Whenever there have been attempts to raise fingers on the status of J&K, the Supreme Court has dismissed it,’’ she said, adding she believes that this issue too will be dismissed.

Underlining that the Agenda of Alliance made it clear that dialogue with all stakeholders in the state was the way forward, Mehbooba Mufti said: “Pakistan will also understand the need for peaceful engagement with India. And the central government will also undertake a broad-based outreach, treating issues within the ambit of humanity as initiated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.’’

In Jammu, Nirmal Singh said “when we formed this government, we discussed and admitted that there have been differences between us and the coalition partner on many political issues… The BJP has agreed to status quo while in coalition government and we are on it.’’ He appealed to Opposition parties, including the National Conference, not to politicize the issue of Article 35 A. “Today, the issue is in the Supreme Court. They (parties) should have faith in it,” he said.

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