Former National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah expressed concern that abolition of Article 35 (A) of the Constitution would lead to the end of state subject laws in Jammu and Kashmir. He said that abrogation of the contentious article would not only adversely impact the Kashmir Valley but Jammu and Ladakh regions as well.
"Provisions which are stated under article 35 (A) were initiated by Raja Hari Singh. If this is scrapped by the Supreme Court, it will end state subject laws. People from other states will gain access to buy property in the region, avail educational scholarships for their children, relief material and bag government jobs; the four main things that Raja Hari Singh protected us from," former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister was quoted as saying by ANI. He was addressing a gathering in Jammu.
"People will lose jobs and scholarships not only in the valley but also in Jammu and Ladakh. if the article is tampered with, you might find that nobody knows your language in the offices you visit as outsiders will take those jobs," he said.
Abdullah also hit out at Kashmiri separatist leaders saying those who do not believe in the Constitution of India have no business talking about Article 35A.
The National Conference leader said it was a myth that investments were not coming into the state because of Article 370 and the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
"We are a small state situated on the northern-most end of the country. It is difficult for a producer in Jammu and Kashmir to sell his products in Chennai. The fact is investments are not coming because of the situation and not because of Article 35A," he argued.
Asked why he opposed the idea of "one India and one country" by asserting the separate status of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said: "We have acceded to the Union of India on four subjects of currency, communication, defence and foreign affairs.
"Saying this does not mean we are opposing the idea of one India and one country."
He said the propaganda that women who marry outside the state face serious bias because of the article as they lose property rights was wrong.
After the Supreme Court decided in favour of women owning property in Jammu and Kashmir after taking a spouse from outside, the matter had been settled, he said.
"My sisters who are married outside the state own property in Kashmir as much as I do," he said.
He alleged a conspiracy by the ruling BJP-PDP coalition to remove the Article and said the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has constantly batted for its removal and has attempted to suppress any opposition arising against the same.
"The BJP has been on our case ever since we spoke of Article 35 (A). We have never encouraged bloodshed, but we refuse to fall prey to their conspiracy. Nobody should be carried away in their propaganda," he said. "Surprisingly, the BJP made an issue of 35A as a case of Jammu versus Kashmir. They say it will benefit Kashmir but adversely affect Jammu. Nobody is going to benefit from the removal of 35 (A)."