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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Omar to Centre: Name stakeholders involved in repealing Article 370

HT Correspondent and Agencies, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, May 28, 2014
First Published: 13:38 IST(28/5/2014) | Last Updated: 16:59 IST(28/5/2014)

Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asked the Centre to come clean about the "stakeholders" it was talking to on the contentious issue of revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution.

Abdullah's reactions come a day after minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh stirred up a controversy by declaring that the new government has started the process to repeal Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir.

The chief minister said the move to re-open the issue of Article 370 would amount to re-opening the issue of the state's accession with the Union.

Read: PMO minister attacks Article 370; Omar fumes

"You can't repeal Article 370 without constituting the Constituent Assembly all over again," Abdullah told reporters.

Article 370 specifies that except for defence, foreign affairs, communications and ancillary matters (those specified in the instrument of accession), Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws.

"While you want to strengthen ties with people here, these statements will only alienate people of Kashmir."

"If they have spoken to stakeholders I would like to know who? I and my party are stakeholders, nobody spoke to us," Abdullah also said.

RSS spokesperson Ram Madhav accused Abdullah of politicising the issue.

"Nobody should have objection over open ended debate on the subject," Madhav was quoted as saying by ANI.

Read: RSS leader says Kashmir isn't Omar's 'parental estate'

Earlier on Wednesday, Madhav targeted Abdullah over his reaction on Singh's statement on Article 370.

"J&K won't b part of India? Is Omar thinking its his parental estate? 370 or no 370 J&K has been n will always b an integral part of India," Madhav posted on Twitter.

Singh's remark had drawn sharp reactions on Tuesday with Abdullah saying that Article 370 was the only constitutional link between the state and rest of India.

“Long after Modi government is a distant memory, either J&K won’t be part of India or Art 370 will still exist,” Abdullah had tweeted.

Singh himself issued a clarification that said, “The reports in the media about my statement on Article 370 are misquoted. I have never said anything quoting the honourable PM. The controversy is totally baseless.”

Abdullah also said that Article 370 cannot be ‘legally revoked and no government at the Centre can do it’.

“Article 370 has been ratified by a constitutional committee of the state which no longer exists. To revoke it, one needs to recall the constitutional committee that cannot be done without questioning Kashmir’s accession to India. Is the BJP ready to do that?” Omar told HT.

(With inputs from IANS)


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