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Omar Abdullah questions ‘assurances’ Mehbooba Mufti got from Modi on J-K’s special status

 Jammu and Kashmir chief minister after meeting Narendra Modi claimed Prime Minister assured her that the special status enjoys by the state will not be diluted

india Updated: Aug 11, 2017 21:45 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
Omar Abdullah,Mehbooba Mufti,J-K
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah says Mehbooba Mufti’s claim on Article 35 (A) is immaterial. (HT File Photo)

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday took a dig at Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, saying her claim of getting an assurance of protection for the special status enjoys by the state is “immaterial.”

The former chief minister was referring to Mufti’s claim that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had assured her that the special status the Muslim majority state enjoys would not be diluted.

She made the claim after calling on Modi in New Delhi amid the debate on Article 35(A) of the Constitution, which was added to Article 370 in 1954 by a presidential decree.

It allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define the list of ‘permanent residents’ and their special rights and privileges.

The BJP, which is an alliance partner in the Mufti-led government in the state, has been calling for the scrapping of the special provision since the party’s inception in 1980.

The article came into the limelight recently after a Delhi-based NGO challenged its validity in the Supreme Court.

“What she said is immaterial. What matters is what the PM said. That’s the only part of this meeting that matters at all,” Abdullah tweeted after Mehbooba-Modi meeting.

Mufti brought to the notice of the Prime Minister sentiments of the people of the state attached to the special provision and the apprehensions the debate over its possible abrogation created in their “hearts and minds,” said a state government spokesperson.

Reacting on the chief minister’s claim, Abdullah further tweeted if every assurance Mehbooba Mufti claimed to have received had been fulfilled, the state would be largely trouble free today.

“Excuse us if we no longer believe what @MehboobaMufti says after she comes out from these meetings. Can @PMOIndia explain ‘assurances’ pls?,” he tweeted.

“Discussions on 35A have a negative impact on Jammu & Kashmir, it should not happen. The basis of our agenda of alliance is that status quo of 370 has to maintained. None of us can go against that,” Mufti had said earlier.

Meanwhile, an NC spokesman asked the chief minister to explain to the people of the state what precise assurance she got from Modi on the emotive issue.

Party spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu in a statement questioned the credibility of her statement, saying all such previous claims made by Mufti about similar alleged “assurances have proved to be lies.”

“What assurance did Mehbooba Mufti manage to get from the Prime Minister? Did the Prime Minister assured her that the Central government no longer desires a ‘larger debate’ on Article 35A’s validity - as was asserted by the Attorney General of India in the Supreme Court?,” Mattu said.

He said the CM should clarify whether the Prime Minster gave an assurance that his party would drop its demand for the scrapping of the Article 370.

Mattu further accused Mufti of “deliberately” choosing an inadequate and irresponsible legal defence in the face of this serious challenge to Article 35A.

“The chief minister should be ashamed that the Supreme Court ridiculed the quality of the response filed by the state government in another case pertaining to the issue of minority rights and status within the state,” the NC spokesperson added.

First Published: Aug 11, 2017 21:17 IST