New Delhi: Article 35 A of Jammu and Kashmir is a ticklish issue that is once again in spotlight with Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s four-day state visit.
Article 35A of the Indian Constitution is an article that empowers the Jammu and Kashmir state’s legislature to define “permanent residents” of the state and provide special rights and privileges to those permanent residents.
Ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ally in Jammu and Kashmir and opposition party National Conference on Sunday pitched in favour of Article 35-A before Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh.
However, the state unit of BJP asked the Home Minister for abrogation of Article 35-A that gives special rights and privileges J&K’s permanent residents.
“We told the Home Minister that Jammu and Kashmir as well as the country has suffered due to Article 35-A and therefore it should be abrogated,” BJP’s chief spokesman Sunil Sethi said.
Article 35-A is challenged in the Supreme Court that has agreed to hear all pleas related to it after Diwali festival.
Sunil Sethi said “the party stands for scrapping of the constitutional provision. We want its abrogation. It is our party’s stand on the issue.”
The BJP leaders have also demanded a probe by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) into “funding of Rohingyas” living in Jammu and Kashmir and their deportation to Myanmar as soon as possible as they are a potential threat to J&K and other states of the country.
A Congress delegation headed by former Pradesh Congress Committee chief Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed also met Singh and brought up the issue of Article 35-A with the Home Minister.
However, Rajnath Singh told them that Government of India (GoI) has nothing to do with petition on Article 35-A in the Supreme Court saying some group has raised the issue in the apex court.
Meanwhile, some refugees of West Pakistan, who had migrated to India during the 1947 partition and are settled in the Kathua district,have also moved the Supreme Court challenging Article 35A.
The petition said there were around three lakh refugees from West Pakistan but those settled in Jammu and Kashmir have been denied the rights guaranteed under Article 35A which are given to the original residents of the state.
The Supreme Court has tagged the the plea of the refugees with the similar matters pending before it.
Article 35A was added to the Constitution by a Presidential Order in 1954 and accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of the Jammu and Kashmir. It also empowers the state’s legislature to frame any law without attracting a challenge on grounds of violating the Right to Equality of people from other states or any other right under the Indian Constitution. (ANI)