Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday threatened to boycott the upcoming Lok Sabha and state assembly elections in case the Centre does not make it's stance clear on the validity of Article 35 A and Article 370 which have been facing legal challenge in the Supreme Court on the grounds that it discriminates among the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and rest of India.
"We will not only boycott Panchayat elections but also Lok Sabha and Assembly elections if the Centre doesn't clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370," the National Conference chief was quoted as saying by ANI.
Earlier in the week, the National Conference, Jammu and Kashmir's oldest political party, announced its decision to boycott the elections to panchayat and urban local bodies across the state.
Article 370 of the Constitution grants special status to Jammu and Kashmir, while Article 35A empowers the state legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.
Article 35-A, which was incorporated in the Constitution by a 1954 Presidential Order sparked off controversies ever since a Delhi-based NGO, We the Citizens filed a petition, claiming that the state's special status, granted by Article 35-A and Article 370 of the Constitution, discriminate against neighbouring citizens from across the country.
We will not only boycott Panchayat elections but also Lok Sabha & Assembly elections if the Centre doesn't clear its stand on Article 35A and Article 370: Farooq Abdullah speaking at an event in Srinagar pic.twitter.com/PowoLkHuQK— ANI (@ANI) September 8, 2018
Continuing his attack on the BJP government, the veteran leader said, "Manner in which media targeted Sidhu shows there are elements which don't want India-Pakistan relations to improve".
Referring to year-old religious conflicts in India, Abdullah said, "No Muslim has ever told a Hindu or Christian to change the way they practice religion, but when they tell us not to offer Namaz in a particular way or stop Azaan, they want to change Gandhi's India" adding "If they want to save the nation, they need respect all religions equally".
Stressing on the deteriorating relationship between India and Pakistan, the NC leader said, When an RSS leader like Vajpayee can go to Pakistan as the PM and say he's the leader of people in India and India accepts Pakistan as a nation and wants to strike a friendship with them. If we're friends with our neighbour, both of us will prosper. I hope PM thinks about it and works for it".
To hit out at the Kashmiri agencies, the 80-year-old said, "Agencies spreading rumours that Kashmiri Pandits are scared. The way Jagmohan did earlier, they think by spreading such rumours Kashmiri Pandits will leave, there will be an uproar in rest of the country and Hindus and Muslims will be killed".