J&K Parties Unite Amid Turmoil, Warn Against Change In Special Status

Mehbooba Mufti tweeted earlier, alleging panic and distress had been "willingly" created by the evacuations of Amaranth yatris and tourists, even as Kashmiris were being given neither relief nor security


Mehbooba Mufti earlier warned her former allies, the BJP, against interfering with Article 35A


The political parties of Jammu and Kashmir, who on Sunday met at National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah's house over the uncertainty triggered by a huge build-up of security forces and a government advisory asking pilgrims and tourists to cut short their stay, said they have resolved to fight any attempt to modify the state's special status.

Mr Abdullah, reading out a resolution adopted at the meeting, said the parties have decided to send delegations to meet President Ram Nath Kovind, Prime Minister Narendra Modi to apprise them about the "consequences" of any attempt to tinker with Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, or carry out delimitation of constituencies or trifurcating the state, news agency PTI reported.

The meeting comes amid rising tension over build-up of troops - as many as 35,000 have been dispatched over the past two weeks - to address increased cross-border infiltration attempts. The call also comes amid concerns the security is part of the centre's plan to deal with the fallout of withdrawing the state's special status.

Earlier, former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti claimed police did not allow the meeting to be held at a local hotel. "The political parties here had decided to hold a meeting, at a hotel today. But police has issued an advisory to all hotels not to let political parties hold any meeting in hotels. So we're holding a meeting at 6 pm today," she told ANI.

She tweeted earlier, alleging panic and distress had been "willingly" created by the evacuations of Amaranth yatris and tourists, even as Kashmiris were being given neither relief nor security.

"Evacuate yatris, tourists, labourers, students & cricketers. Willingly create a sense of panic & distress but don't bother giving Kashmiris a sense of relief or security. Kahan gayi insaniyat, kashmiriyat aur jamhooriyat (where has the commitment to humanity, spirit of Kashmir and democracy gone)?" she wrote.

Her tweet was a reference to an unprecedented travel advisory issued after the Indian Army said it had recovered a Pakistan Army landmine from along the yatra route.

The warning, criticised by Ms Mufti, her rival, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah, and the Congress, caused widespread panic. On Saturday, mobile internet services were being disconnected in many areas of the state, reports said.

Ms Mufti, who led a short-lived coalition between the PDP and the BJP that fell last year, had repeatedly said she would not side with the BJP on the issue, claiming the ruling party was "entering our homes" using the legislation.

Yesterday, Ms Mufti had said all political parties in the state should work together to stop the centre from "toy(ing) with J&K's special position".

"Workers of all political parties should come together so a message can be given to Centre that they can't toy with J&K's special position. Recent developments in J&K have created fear among people&it's unfortunate that Centre isn't issuing a clear statement," she had tweeted.

Article 35A allows the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define permanent residents of the state. It also grants residents of special rights and privileges, such as the right to own property in the state.

(With inputs from PTI)

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