Time to say bye to Article 370, 35A: BJP

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Senior BJP Leader Virendra Gupta, while speaking to PTI, said the time has come for Articles 35A and 370 to be struck down, as they promote a "separatist psyche" in the Valley.

Normal life was hit in Kashmir and parts of Chenab valley in the Jammu region on Saturday due to a separatist-sponsored shutdown to protest the alleged "devious attempts" being made at the behest of Sangh Parivar to abrogate Article 35A and Article 370 of the Constitution that grant special status to J&K.

Ironically, while the PDP is a strong votary of continuing with the special status, its ruling partner the BJP contested elections on the plank that it would revoke the constitutional position for Jammu and Kashmir's complete integration with the rest of India. Under Article 35A, state laws bar non-residents from purchasing land in the state. Pakistan's foreign office spokesperson Nafees Zakria on Thursday had accused India of trying to alter the demography of Jammu and Kashmir. "It is a sensitive and debatable issue and it will be kept in public domain so as to take on board people of all three regions of the state including civil societies, " said state Congress vice-president Sham Lal Sharma.

The separatists said strike was also against killing of Kashmiris by army. The former chief minister advised Mehbooba to not only meet the Prime Minister, but other Central Ministers as well to reiterate the state's stance on the subject. "We need to understand why the Indian government has not filed an affidavit, whether the issue was legal or not. Constitution of India and Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir govern our living and existence but we have been vested with certain rights and we will protect those rights".

He also said if the Article 35A is tinkered with, the Dogras will suffer the most and Article 370 of the Constitution, which gives special status to the state, will be rendered merely a "skeleton".

"By talking about accommodating idea of J&K in Idea of India she is forgetting the fact that New Delhi by its proxies and taking Supreme Court route is trying to bring Kashmiris to the back foot and also intends to seek bargaining power for the final resolution of J&K".

Professor Hari Om, a historian and social activist, said, "It is an atrocious article that creates a high wall between people of J&K and the rest of India. The Prime Minister gave 100 per cent assurance to the agenda of alliance", she told reporters after her 15-minute meeting with Modi.

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