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Jammu Kashmir

Posted at: Sep 15, 2018, 2:16 AM; last updated: Sep 15, 2018, 2:40 PM (IST)

‘On 35A, separatists & mainstream together’

Mufti: Remove Mehta from case in SC
‘On 35A, separatists & mainstream together’
Mehbooba Mufti

Arun Joshi

Tribune News Service

Jammu, September 14

Former Chief Minister and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti today said there was “no dividing line between separatists and the mainstream” on the issue of Article 35A.

“We all stand for its protection. There is no line separating anyone from anyone in Kashmir on the issue,” Mehbooba told The Tribune a day after an all-party meeting chaired by National Conference’s Farooq Abdullah resolved that the issue be left to an elected government.

The PDP did not take part because “we had already made our stand clear — to stay away from elections as it has been linked to Article 35A. That was avoidable, the government could have taken any other plea”, she said. Article 35A grants special rights and privileges to the permanent residents of the state. “We cannot brook any challenge to it. We don’t want even a comma and full stop to be changed in it. This is part of the agreements between the Centre and the state and now the Centre cannot backtrack from it,” she said emphatically.

The legal challenge to Article 35A, she remarked, has “hurt sentiments of all the people, so where does the question of the separatist line or mainstream line arise? We all are on the same page”.

“When it was linked to the holding of elections by Additional Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, it created a worse situation out of an already bad one,” the former Chief Minister added. 

She, too, gave her voice to the proposition of the other parties that the matter should be left to an elected government. “Yes, it is a sensible thing to do. The Governor is the Centre’s man, he cannot take a call on it.” She said the removal of Mehta from the case is a “must”. “My government had hired the services of leading jurist F Nariman. I don’t know why the Centre removed him,” Mehbooba  Mufti added.

Warning the Centre against violating the sanctity of the mandate by installing a government through horse-trading, she said “if that happens, Delhi would be killing democracy in the state”.

“I had not recommended dissolution of the Assembly to avert a vacuum and to keep a link between the people and the Governor’s administration alive through the Members of the Legislative Assembly,” the former Chief Minister reasoned when asked whether she regretted not recommending dissolution of the House when she had resigned on June 19.

The former Chief Minister disclosed that “Governor Satya Pal Malik had visited her at her place. It was a courtesy call. There was no political discussion at all”.

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