Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir reacted sharply on Wednesday to National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval's comments that a separate constitution for the state was probably an aberration pointing out that it was a part of the 'Instrument of Accession'.
The People's Democratic Party (PDP), which was till recently an ally of the Centre's ruling BJP, said those who believe in accession of the state to the Union of India should also have faith in the instrument of accession.
"Anyone who believes and endorses the accession of Jammu and Kashmir with India should also have faith in clause 8 of the Instrument of Accession which provides for internal sovereignty of the state," PDP chief spokesperson Rafi Ahmad Mir said in a statement.
He said "unwarranted" remarks of the NSA when the Kashmir valley was witnessing a political turmoil, showed his "insensitivity" towards the people of the state.
"The state's internal sovereignty is a matter of right and has a historical significance, although this sovereignty had been reduced to a hollow shell over these years, it continues to be a matter of our identity, symbolic of our collective struggle against autocratic rule," he said.
The PDP spokesman said it was unfortunate that when a Muslim-dominated state rejected the two-nation theory and went to accede to a Hindu-majority nation with trust, "we are being harassed, pushed to the wall by these assaults on our state's special status".
This selective discrimination and assaults on the state's special status will only "alienate" the people further as the government of India at the time of accession gave an undertaking that the people of Kashmir could frame their own constitution, he said.
"I would like the NSA to know that the Instrument of Accession is a valid legal document and nobody should forget the essence of clause 8 of the Instrument of Accession, which shows in its opening sentence that the instrument did not in any way effect the 'sovereignty in and over' the acceding state," the PDP spokesperson said.
Similar views were expressed by senior NC leader Abdul Rahim Rather.
If the Constitution of J&K is an aberration then I am very sorry to say, the instrument accession of accession is in itself an aberration, Rather told reporters.
Jammu and Kashmir Congress chief G A Mir also said Article 370 of the Constitution which provides special status to the state and said noises for its abrogation have no takers in the country.
Claiming that the situation in Kashmir situation had deteriorated, G A Mir said the Congress would not lag behind in the process of conduct of panchayat and municipal elections but a decision should be taken after reviewing the ground situation.
"Different people speak differently about Article 370 which is a special safeguard for the people of the state. The whole world knows that Jammu and Kashmir's accession to India is based on some conditions, the biggest being the special status, having own constitution and flag," he told reporters here.
The Congress leader, who led a rally from party headquarters at Shaheedi Chowk to the office of deputy commissioner at Wazarat road in Jammu, was reacting to NSA) Ajit Doval's statement.
He said there were many examples in the world where smaller states enjoy a status like Jammu and Kashmir enjoys with India.
"People raise such things for vote bank politics but statements like these will have no takers in the country," the Congress leader said.
On Tuesday in New Delhi, NSA Doval had said that having a separate constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was probably an "aberration" as he stressed that sovereignty can never be compromised.
Speaking at the launch of a book on Vallabhbhai Patel, Doval also paid glowing tributes to the first home minister of India, saying he made significant contributions in laying a strong foundation of the country.
Doval said sovereignty "cannot be a diluted and ill-defined", and added that when the "British left, probably they did not want to leave India as a strong sovereign state."
In this context, he said Patel could see through the plan of the British to sow seeds of disintegration in the country.
"His contribution is not about the merger of the states, it is only a means to an end. The thing was that to make a sovereign state in which there was the sovereignty of the people was established in the Constitution, which is applicable to the whole of it. Probably with Jammu and Kashmir, where the Constitution was...in a truncated form...another constitution of J&K continued to exist, which is aberration," Doval said at the event at Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), a think-tank.
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