National Conference President and Member of Parliament for Srinagar, Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Monday said that Article 35-A was a non-negotiable article of faith for the people of the State and that National Conference was ready to fight every battle required to safeguard the State’s special status and its political and cultural identity. Addressing a rousing convention in Handwara, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said the assault on the State’s special status was part of a longstanding ideological mission of those quarters who have always opposed J&K’s political rights and dignity.“This battle has been forced on the people of the State at a time when all efforts should have been made to initiate a process of reconciliation and healing so that the trust deficit is bridged. At this juncture of unease and uncertainty in the State, the people expected a political initiative that would bring the State back to an era of peace, normalcy and prosperity. Unfortunately, rather than building those bridges of faith, certain organizations and powers are trying hard to dismantle the existing constitutional bridges between J&K and the rest of the country”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said in his speech.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah reiterated National Conference’s resolve to fight against all such intrigues and said the need of the hour was for all the three regions of the State to remain united and debunk all distortions that are being spread against Article 35A. “Article 35A is vital and non-negotiable for the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and those trying to divide us on regional and religious lines to further their agenda will have to be defeated. This is a battle for the interests, rights and dignity of every single citizen of Jammu & Kashmir irrespective of his religion, region, language and caste.
Our party is reaching out to people in every nook and corner of the State in all three regions to make the people aware about the disastrous ramifications of Article 35A being struck down and we will continue with this process of outreach and consensus building at the grassroots level”, the National Conference President said.“We kept cautioning the PDP as well as others about this impending ploy from day one but these warnings were not taken seriously or it’s quite possible there was and is a tacit understanding among these parties to sacrifice Article 35A to bargain for personal political power. The Article 35A case has been handled with gross irresponsibility and unprofessionalism giving the opposing side an intentional advantage. Key and vital factors – both constitutional and political – have not been presented and that is why our party will not hesitate to defend Article 35A in a strong, articulate and responsible manner even in the Supreme Court if that is what it takes. It is heartening to see a consensus on the ground level and among various trade and social organizations on this key issue and National Conference will work hand-in-hand with them in this battle”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah added.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah asked the party workers to reach out to the people in their respective areas and spread awareness about this issue. “There are a lot of fallacious and disingenuous distortions being fabricated about Article 35A and how it is allegedly a roadblock for development. This is baseless and part of a greater plan to further an agenda of political and cultural hegemony. Article 35A is the cornerstone of the State’s prosperity and that of its citizens. It safeguards their rights and ensures their rights to its resources are protected at all costs. We need to fight this distortion campaign with information and facts and that is where each one of us has a vital role to play”, Dr. Farooq Abdullah said. Senior Party Leaders who spoke on the occasion include National Conference General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani, Party Vice President Chaudhary Muhammad Ramzan, North Zone President Muhammad Akbar Lone, Former Minister and Senior Leader Mir Saifullah and District President Kupwara MLC Qaiser Jamsheed Lone besides senior functionaries of the party.