Peoples Democratic Party on Wednesday said that the important issue of Jammu and Kashmir is the snatching away of its special status by abrogation of Article 370 and not the restoration of statehood.
PDP chief spokesperson Suhail Bukhari said that the Bharatiya Janata Party government wants to shift the conversation towards statehood and other smaller issues to deviate them from the validity of constitutional changes brought about by the abrogation of Article 370.
“We used to talk about the solution of Jammu and Kashmir issue, then they took away special status and statehood, turned it into a Union Territory and are not conducting elections. They want us to ask them about holding elections, one way or the other, and leave the rest,” Bukhari said.
“The constitutional changes have complicated things. All these questions have to be seen but the larger question remains the same,” he said.
The comments from PDP come after solicitor general Tushar Mehta on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that the UT status of J&K was not a “Permanent thing” and that there would be a statement on the issue on August 31.
The SC is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which took away its special status and split the erstwhile state into two UTs. A five-judge constitution bench, including the Chief Justice of India, is hearing the petitions.
Bukhari said that the “Real question to be decided” in the court is the way the Union government “Unilaterally, illegally and unconstitutionally snatched our special status”.
“Did they have that right or not? We believe they did not. The question before SC is that. The statehood restoration is not important because when that larger question is addressed, our belief that the parent incident/act (of abrogation) was illegal and all its consequences can’t be legal or constitutional. Our question still is the validity of the snatching away of our special status,” he said.
He added that it “Suited BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh to change the conversation so that we take our eyes off our larger questions and issues,” he said.