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NEW DELHI: For the “idea of India to accommodate the idea of Jammu and Kashmir”, Article 35A that grants special status to the India-held region should not be removed, said the state’s Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Friday after a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported ANI.

She further said the basis of her PDP’s alliance with the BJP is that the “status quo of 370 has to be maintained”. She added that Mr Modi “gave 100 per cent assurance on the agenda of alliance”. Article 370 also accords the disputed region special status.

Article 35A of the Indian constitution is being challenged in the Supreme Court. It empowers the Jammu and Kashmir legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.

Mehbooba met opposition National Conference president Farooq Abdullah earlier this week to seek the support of his party on the issue.

The BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir chapter recently upped the ante with its spokesperson Virendra Gupta saying the time had come to bid farewell to articles 370 and 35A of the constitution as they created a “separatist psyche”, reported PTI.

The controversy erupted in 2014 after an NGO called We the Citizens filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking that Article 35A be struck down. The article was added to the constitution by a presidential order in 1954, it said.

­­—By arrangement with the Times of India

Published in Dawn, August 12th, 2017

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