PM Narendra Modi said Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by bullets or abuses but by embracing Kashmiris.
Welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi's outreach to Kashmiris from the iconic Red Fort, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti made the state's complex relationship with the central government the crux of her Independence Day speech, underlining that there can't be any compromise on the special status of the state.
Article 35-A bars outsiders from owning property in Jammu and Kashmir. A petition in the Supreme Court says the provision discriminates against women of the state, who lose their right to own property in the state if they marry a "non-resident". The provision is considered fundamental to the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.
Referring to the controversy surrounding Article 35A, she expressed confidence that the court would dismiss the petition again.
"Whenever anybody has pointed a finger at the identity of Jammu and Kashmir or approached the Supreme Court, Supreme Court dismissed them, I am sure that the issue before Supreme Court will also be dismissed by the court like it has dismissed in the last 70 years," the chief minister said.
This was one point, she said, on which all political parties in the state were united irrespective of whether they were in power or now.
"The fight for the chair and political fight is different, but when it comes to the question of our identity, we are all one, we are united and nobody can separate us," she said. The Chief Minister had last week met PM Modi and got an assurance that the Centre did not intend to fiddle with it.
In his Independence Day address, there was more. Prime Minister Modi stressed that bullets can't resolve Kashmir problem but embracing Kashmiris will. He underscored that only a handful of separatists are resorting to tactics to disrupt the atmosphere of the state and government is committed to making Kashmir a paradise again.
"Kashmir problem cannot be resolved by bullets or abuses. It can be resolved by embracing Kashmiris," PM Modi said.
"We look forward to being embraced in the warm grip of understanding, acceptance and respect," tweeted former chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah welcoming PM Modi's words for Kashmir. But he cautioned that "everyone here is weary of yet more talk and no concrete action".