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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Sep 13, 2017, 12:16 AM; last updated: Sep 13, 2017, 12:16 AM (IST)

Centre non-committal on defending Article 35A in Supreme Court

Rohingyas illegal immigrants, a security threat: Rajnath Singh

Dinesh Manhotra

Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 12

The BJP-led NDA government at the Centre is non-committal on filing an affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend Article 35A, which grants special privileges to the permanent residents of the state.

When asked at a press conference here today whether the Centre would file a counter affidavit in the apex court to protect Article 35A, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh said: “The matter is pending in the apex court, so I have nothing to say about it.” He said: “Some people have challenged it (Article 35A) in the apex court. Whatever will unfold in the coming days, you will be conveyed from time to time.”

The Home Minister’s statement is significant as the working president of the National Conference and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had on Monday asked the Centre to file a counter affidavit in the apex court to defend Article 35A.

Reacting to Rajnath’s assurance not to hurt the sentiments of the people of Kashmir on Article 35A, Omar tweeted on Monday: “The Union Government must now file a counter affidavit in the Supreme Court to defend 35-A. That is the way to carry this assurance forward.”

A day after his much-publicised statement on ‘protecting’ the sentiments of the people of Kashmir, the Home Minister sought to set the record straight by saying that he had referred to the sentiments of the people of all three regions of the state — Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

Rajnath was responding to a query whether the Centre had ignored the sentiments of the people of Jammu and Ladakh by giving assurance to address the aspirations of one region only.

Meanwhile, amid a debate on the deportation of Rohingyas, living illegally in various parts of the country, the Home Minister dubbed them immigrants and a security threat. “We will strongly deal with the illegal immigrants living in different areas,” he said.

A number of delegations, which called on Rajnath during his two-day stay in Jammu, demanded deportation of over 4,500 Rohingyas living in Jammu. Replying to a question on the National Investigation Agency (NIA) crackdown on separatists in the Valley, he said: “The NIA is an independent, autonomous organisation and is acting according to the law of the land. No government should intervene in the working of the agency.”

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