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news details
'Mehbooba wants to have a cake and eat it too'
Silence on fake state subjects, noise on 35-A
9/8/2018 10:51:55 PM
Early Times Report

Jammu, Sept 8: Kashmir's oldest political party National Conference has been joined by its arch-rival People's Democratic Party (PDP) in its demand for dispelling the apprehensions in J&K about the Article 35A before participation in the upcoming Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat polls.
PDP president and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has said in an interview to a Srinagar-based newspaper that her party would take a "conscious call" about participation in upcoming civic polls.
"The situation in Kashmir continues to be grim. Linking Article 35A with the polls has further vitiated the atmosphere," Mehbooba said. Article 35A empowers J&K legislature to define permanent residents of the state. If the provision is done away with, citizens of J&K will lose all exclusive rights under the state subject law like right to property, employment and settlement.
Mehbooba's remarks have come as a surprise, because just two months ago she was heading a coalition government with the support of the BJP and while at the helm of affairs neither she nor any of her party leaders spoke on the issue of 35-A. In fact her party leaders were justifying forming government with the BJP and argued that they joined hands with the saffron party "only to safeguard special status of Jammu and Kashmir under the Indian constitution."
Notably, while Mehbooba is now speaking on Article 35-A and warning New Delhi of the serious repercussions if it's abrogated, her silence on the equally serious issue of fake state subjects is intriguing and meaningful.
Article 35-A is directly linked to the state subject issue and the two cannot be discussed separately.
It's no secret that hundreds of non-state subject businessmen from the neighbouring states of J&K like Punjab and Himachal have been able to fraudulently obtain state subject certificates and have permanently settled in Jammu. They have opened their business outlets in many parts of Jammu region, particularly in the Jammu city, at the cost of local business houses.
"These non-state subject businessmen are known to fund some political parties of J&K to keep them silent on the issue of state subject. The beneficiaries of these non-local business houses purportedly include the PDP," a top official in the administration told Early Times.
He said by raking up Article 35-A and preferring silence on the burning issue of fake state subjects, Mehbooba "wants to have a cake and eat it too. Mehbooba does not appear to annoy the strong non-local business lobby settled in Jammu after fraudulently obtaining state subjects. That's why there's uproar on 35-A but not a single word on the fake state subjects."
Meanwhile, Mehbooba has said questions were being raised why the hearing over Article 35A was deferred by the Supreme Court till completion of civic bodies' polls.
"They (the state government and New Delhi) told the court that it will have impact on situation in Kashmir. There are apprehensions they may be up to something which may further vitiate atmosphere and that is why hearing has been deferred," Mehbooba said, adding that she has summoned all party leaders for meeting on September 10 to discuss future plans.
"The situation is very insecure, it hasn't improved. The way (relatives of) policemen were kidnapped from their homes in south Kashmir (last week) tells us that situation is not getting any better. It continues to remain grim," said Mehbooba.
She said the meeting would discuss about the situation and looming threat to Article 35A. In the prevailing situation, she said the party would take a "conscious call" on what shall be done as far as participation in polls was concerned.
"Is it possible in this situation to go out and campaign? This will be known once we get feedback from party members," Mehbooba said.
The National Conference has already announced it won't contest the polls unless state government and government of India assures about safety to Article 35A which has been challenged in the Supreme Court. The polls are scheduled to begin from October 1.
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