Mehbooba Mufti, Abdullah warn of ‘catastrophic consequences’

Former chief ministers in Indian-held Kashmir (IHJ) Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah on Monday condemned the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) revocation of the special constitutional status of occupied Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
The article gave Kashmir its own constitution and decision-making rights for all matters except for defence, communications and foreign affairs.
The law also forbade Indians outside the state from permanently settling, buying land, holding local government jobs and securing education scholarships.
Critics of India’s Hindu nationalist-led government see the move as a bid to dilute the demographics of Muslim-majority Kashmir with Hindu settlers.
Jammu & Kashmir Peoples Democratic Party President and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was placed under house arrest along with former IHK chief minister Omar Abdullah, condemned New Delhi’s move.
“Today marks the darkest day in Indian democracy. Decision of Jammu and Kashmir leadership to reject the two-nation theory in 1947 & align with India has backfired. Unilateral decision of government of India to scrap Article 370 is illegal & unconstitutional which will make India an occupational force in J&K,” she said in first of many tweets.
“It will have catastrophic consequences for the subcontinent. Government of India’s intentions are clear. They want the territory of J&K by terrorising it’s people. India has failed Kashmir in keeping its promises.”
She said, “Already under house arrest & not allowed to have visitors either. Not sure how long I’ll be able to communicate. Is this the India we acceded to?”
“GOIs intention is clear & sinister. They want to change demography of the only Muslim-majority state in India, disempower Muslims to the extent where they become second class citizens in their own state.”
Omar Abdullah, vice president of National Conference and former chief minister of Jammu & Kashmir, also issued a statement on the matter.
“Government of India’s unilateral and shocking decisions today are a total betrayal of the trust that the people of Jammu & Kashmir had reposed in India when the state acceded to it in 1947 – the decisions will have far-reaching and dangerous consequences. This is an aggression against people of the state as had been warned by an all-parties meeting in Srinagar yesterday. [The] GOI has resorted to deceit and stealth in recent weeks to lay the ground for these disastrous decisions. Our darkest apprehensions have unfortunately come true after the GOI and it’s representatives in Jammu and Kashmir lied to us that nothing major was planned.”
“The scrapping of Articles 370 and 35A raise fundamental questions on the state’s accession because that was done on the very terms enunciated in these Articles,” he said, adding, “The decisions are unilateral, illegal and unconstitutional and will be challenged as such by the National Conference. A long and tough battle lies ahead. We are ready for that.” Regional parties in occupied Kashmir have been calling attempts to revoke Article 370 “an aggression against the people”.
The law dates to 1927, when an order by the administration of the-then princely state of Kashmir gave the state’s subjects exclusive hereditary rights. Two months after India won independence from British rule in August 1947, Maharaja Hari Singh, the ruler of Kashmir, signed a Treaty of Accession for the state to join the rest of the union, formalised in Article 370 of the Indian constitution. Further discussions culminated in the 1952 Delhi Agreement, a presidential order that extended Indian citizenship to the residents of the state but left the maharaja’s privileges for residents intact.–DT

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