Won't Restore J&K Special Status: Law Minister On Mehbooba Mufti Remarks

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said Mehbooba Mufti's comment that she will "bring back the state flag" was "downright denunciation" of the national flag

Ravi Shankar Prasad criticised Mehbooba Mufti over her comments on Jammu and Kashmir

Srinagar:

Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Saturday said special status under Article 370 of the Constitution will not be restored in Jammu and Kashmir, in a direct response to People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti's call for a renewed push against the centre on the issue.

Mr Prasad said Ms Mufti's comment that she will "bring back the state flag" was "downright denunciation" of the national flag, news agency PTI reported.

Mr Prasad said special status to Jammu and Kashmir was removed last year after following a proper constitutional process and both houses of parliament approved it with overwhelming numbers, PTI reported.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister had on Friday said she was not interested in contesting elections or holding the national flag till the constitutional changes made on August 5 last year were rolled back.

Mr Prasad also criticised other opposition parties, saying they have maintained a "stony silence" on Ms Mufti showing "serious disrespect to the national flag", even as they criticise the BJP over the "slightest of issues". "This is hypocrisy and double standard," Mr Prasad said.

Ms Mufti had spent over a year under arrest. After former chief minister Farooq Abdullah of the National Conference was also released following a nearly year-long stay under arrest, key leaders including Ms Mufti and Sajjad Lone have come together to fight for the restoration of Article 370.

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Called the "People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration", the freshly minted grouping also seeks a dialogue between all stakeholders for resolution of Kashmir.

"Even if leaders need to shed their blood for the cause, Mehbooba Mufti will be first to offer it," the PDP chief said today. "We are not comfortable with today's India," she told reporters.

Most of the political leaders in Kashmir Valley had been in custody for long - it was part of the preventive measures against backlash taken by the centre last August, a day before making the huge announcement in parliament.

With inputs from PTI