Srinagar, Sep 13: National Conference vice president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah Thursday sought clarification of the stands of both the Central and State governments on Article 35-A and appropriate steps for deferment of proceedings in the Supreme Court till the return of popular rule in Jammu and Kashmir state.
Addressing a press conference after an all party meeting called by National Conference, Omar Abdullah said “had Central government linked Article 35-A to conduct of local body elections before the Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Council elections National Conference would have also boycotted local elections in Kargil also. Central government which sought adjournment of the hearing on Article 35-A till the conduct of Municipal and Panchayat elections in the state is itself responsible for linking Article 35-A with the conduct of Panchayat and Municipal elections.”
Seeking immediate removal of Tushar Mehta as counsel for Jammu and Kashmir government for violating its brief during August 27 hearing on Article 35-A in the Supreme Court of the country, Omar said “Tushar Mehta has gone out of brief given to him by Jammu and Kashmir government during hearing on Article 35-A on August 27 in the Supreme Court and as such he should be immediately removed and the case be handed over to the counsels already engaged by the state government for defending Article 35-A in the Supreme Court of the country. Mehta was neither representing any political party nor any individual in the Supreme Court but he was representing the Jammu and Kashmir government the brief of which has been violated by him.”
Seeking clarification of the central government on Article 35-A, former chief minister said “the Central government should come out with an assurance that it will seek an adjournment of Article 35-A hearing on January 9 next year with an argument that case be deferred till the return of popular rule in the state. Article 35-A is a matter concerning constitutional right of the people of the state and it should be deferred till the return of popular rule in Jammu and Kashmir.”
Saying that no separatist, no mainstream but every individual of Jammu and Kashmir is united on defending Article 35-A, NC vice president said “even BJP legislators have publically voiced their support for protection of Article 35-A and the saffron party couldn’t contest their statements keeping in view the concerns of the people irrespective of region and religion on protection of Article 35-A. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have shown unprecedented unity over the protection of Article 35-A.”
Reacting to Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to go ahead with the polls despite boycott by National Conference and PDP, Omar said “too largest mainstream political parties having the distinction of having three chief ministers are boycotting the elections and if government thinks the credibility of elections won’t be an issue even without the participation of two largest mainstream political parties the government is free to do so. We do not ask people to boycott and we do not intend to carry out any anti-poll campaign but we have only said that we will not participate in the elections.”
Reacting to PDP’s non participation in the all party meeting called by NC, Omar Abdullah said “we invited them and expected them to send any representative for the meeting. We wanted to take all on board over the future strategy on Article 35-A but if anybody has not come out we cannot say anything on their response.”
Saying that the unprecedented unity shown by the people of Jammu and Kashmir is an eye opener for those challenging Article 35-A and the governments in Delhi and Srinagar, Omar said “even those observed shutdown against the tinkering with Article 35-A who in last twenty five years have never pulled down their shutters on any protest call from any political party or trade union organisation. (KNS)