SRINAGAR – Indian-held Jammu Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asked the new Indian government to come clean on who are the stakeholders it was talking about on the contentious issue of revocation of Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
His comments came a day after State Minister in PM Office Dr Jitendra Singh stirred up a controversy by declaring the Narendra Modi-led government has started the process for repealing Article 370, which grants special status to Jammu Kashmir within the Indian republic.
“We will oppose the move tooth and nail. Since it is the minister of state talking and hence it is a policy matter. They (Indian government) must come clean and share who are the stakeholders they have talked to,” Abdullah said while speaking to journalists.
The chief minister said the move to re-open the issue of Article 370 would amount to re-opening the issue of the state’s accession with the union. “It is akin to opening up the issues of decisions those are to do with the ratification of accession,” he asserted.
Article 370 specifies that except for defence, foreign affairs, communications and ancillary matters (matters specified in the instrument of so-called ‘accession’), the Indian Parliament needs the state government's concurrence for applying all other laws.
Abdullah reacted very sharply to Jitendra Singh's statement asserting that either Article 370 will stay or Kashmir would cease to be a part of India. People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president and Lok Sabha member Mehbooba Mufti too said her party would oppose any move to revoke Article 370.
“Well I think it is very unfortunate of a minister who belongs to the state and has seen the bloodshed and suffering of the people to make such a statement. Jitendra Singh has no better thing to do on the very first day of his ministry and rakes up an issue where he has no control," said Mufti.
Abdullah also took exception to Minorities Affairs Minister Najma Heptullah's statement that reservations were not the solution to the problems of the Indian Muslims. “It is not so easy and simple. She will take some time to get the grip of her ministry. Why should it be an issue with the Muslim reservations? Then go after the reservations of other sections too,” Abdullah said.