National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah Saturday said he would fight for Article 35-A until his death, warning that the fallout of any tinkering with the Constitutional provision would be difficult to control.
Article 35-A, which gives special rights and privileges to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, is currently facing a legal challenge in the Supreme Court.
“I will fight against them till I go down in my grave,” Abdullah said, adding that “they only remember Kashmir and not Himachal (Pradesh), Arunachal (Pradesh) and Nagaland”, which also enjoy the special position.
Asked how he sees the situation in Kashmir if the Article 35-A is tinkered with, he said, “You will see the situation yourselves, Delhi will also then see it and it will be very difficult for them to control it”.
Abdullah, who is also the Member of Parliament form Srinagar constituency, however, sought to dismiss the uproar around the legal challenge to Article 35-A of the Constitution, saying no one is going to touch it.
“They cannot touch (Article) 35-A. The Constitutional bench has twice said about it already. I do not know why they try to scratch this wound every time. The more they scratch it, the more blood there will be. Time has come for them to stop scratching it,” the NC president said on the sidelines of a function here.
When the reporters pressed him hard on the issue, Abdullah in his usual style said, “35-A ko mariye goli. 35-A chalta jayega (shoot 35-A, the issue will keep going on).”
On August 6, the Supreme Court had said a three-judge bench would decide whether the pleas challenging Article 35-A should be referred to a five-judge Constitution bench for examining the larger issue of alleged violation of the doctrine of basic structure of the Constitution.
The bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice A Khanwilkar had adjourned the crucial hearing on as many as five petitions “to the week commencing from August 27” on the grounds that they pertained to the challenge to a Constitutional scheme and could not be heard as the third judge, Justice D Y Chandrachud, was not present on that day.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order, accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and denies property rights to a woman who marries a person from outside the state.