SRINAGAR: PDP President and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday said any tinkering with Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution, which provide special status to Jammu and Kashmir, will render the state's Instrument of Accession with India null and void.
"Article 370 is the constitutional connection between J&K & Indian Union. Instrument of accession is contingent on Article 370 which is inextricably linked to Article 35A. Any tampering will render Treaty of Accession null & void," Mehbooba said in a series of tweets.
The PDP chief added that Kashmir Valley is rife with speculation about the status of Article 35A. "Before taking a decision, GoI (Government of India) must consider that J&K was the only Muslim-majority state that chose a secular India over Pak during partition," Mehbooba remarked.
She said that the government must not Kashmiris responsible for the developments if the special provision was scrapped. "Those frothing at the mouth & calling for its removal shouldn't blame Kashmiris for the developments that will follow such a hare-brained decision," she said.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir administration tried to put all speculations to rest by saying on Sunday that only an elected government would be able to take a stand on Article 35-A before the Supreme Court, which is hearing petitions challenging its validity.
Addressing a press conference, senior bureaucrat Rohit Kansal, who has been designated as the chief spokesperson of the governor's administration, said, "The stand of the state government on the request of deferment of hearing on Article 35A in the Supreme Court remains the same as requested by them on February 11."
Kansal made the statement while replying to a question on whether there was a change in the stand of the governor's administration on the contentious issue. Kansal said that Kashmiris must not pay heed to rumours and restrain themselves from reacting on the basis of unsubstantiated and exaggerated pieces of information. "In the past few days several rumours have been circulated and panic messages disseminated. Most of these have been based on unsubstantiated or exaggerated pieces of information," he said.
Meanwhile, BJP Rajya Sabha MP Rakesh Sinha demanded that Article 370 in Kashmir should be completely eliminated as there is no need of it now in the state. He added that the time has come to completely eliminate Section 35A from Jammu and Kashmir.