News Desk |
On Monday, Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) put forward its party’s manifesto for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, which has garnered widespread criticism over its decision to eliminate Article 370 from the Indian Constitution, which provides the occupied state of Jammu & Kashmir with special autonomous status.
The BJP manifesto states that the Modi-led government has undertaken all “necessary efforts to ensure peace in Jammu and Kashmir through decisive actions and a firm policy” and its decision to abrogate the Article 370 is also in line with its efforts to develop the state and provide “adequate financial resources to all the regions of the state”. The BJP manifesto also discusses the decision to annul Article 35A, which provides special privileges to the permanent residents of J&K.
Greater Kashmir reported that Abdullah warned the BJP leadership that the National Conference “will never allow anyone to attack our special status” and the people of the state will revolt against this travesty of justice.
The manifesto reads, “We are committed to annulling Article 35A of the Constitution of India as the provision is discriminatory against non-permanent residents and women of Jammu and Kashmir. We believe that Article 35A is an obstacle in the development of the state. We will take all steps to ensure a safe and peaceful environment for all residents of the state.”
The BJP leadership has also promised to assist the Kashmiri Pundits who had to leave Indian-occupied J&K during the unrest of 1990s and vowed to provide financial assistance to the refugees. It states, “We will make all efforts to ensure the safe return of Kashmiri Pundits and we will provide financial assistance for the resettlement of refugees from West Pakistan, Pakistan occupied Jammu and Kashmir (POJK) and Chhamb.”
The BJP leadership and their supporters have finally announced a decision to fulfill their long-held desire of putting an end to the special constitutional status of Kashmir, which does not allow outsiders to own property within the state. While Modi argues that such laws have prevented the successful “integration” of Indian-occupied J&K with the rest of the country, Kashmiri separatist leaders regard it as a ploy to turn Kashmiri Muslims into a minority. Needless to say, BJP’s manifesto succeeded in satisfying the BJP and Hindutva supporters who have been calling for a hardline stance to curb the separatist sentiments of the Kashmiri Muslims.
Kashmiri Leaders Warn of Unrest
On Monday, Vice President of National Conference Omar Abdullah dared Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP leadership to try to remove the Articles 370 and 35A. Greater Kashmir reported that Abdullah warned the BJP leadership that the National Conference “will never allow anyone to attack our special status” and the people of the state will revolt against this travesty of justice.
Jammu and Kashmir is already sitting on a powder keg. If the BJP does not stop making such statements and give up such intentions, it will not only burn the state but the entire region.
While referring to BJP’s agenda of worsening the situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir to boosts its “electoral gains in other states”, Omar Abdullah observed, “BJP has started to suppress the voices of people and using threats. Instead of saying they will fight militancy they should have said they will try to improve the situation so that no one will join the militancy in future.”
Other political leaders in Indian-occupied Kashmir has strongly reacted against BJP’s promises of scrapping away Article 370 and 35A, which are crucial for J&K’s political autonomy and special privileges. Former Chief Minister of Indian-occupied Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti warned the BJP leadership that such attempts will be met with severe repercussions.
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NDTV cited the warning issued by the President of J&K’s People’s Democratic Party, “So my warning to the BJP is to stop playing with fire. Jammu and Kashmir is already sitting on a powder keg. If the BJP does not stop making such statements and give up such intentions, it will not only burn the state but the entire region.”
Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.