Jammu: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Saturday accused the opposition National Conference (NC) of trying to create a “fear psychosis" among the people of Jammu over the issue of Article 35A of the Constitution.
The saffron party, which is in power in Jammu and Kashmir in alliance with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), alleged that the NC was responsible for promoting “majoritarianism" at the cost of minorities in the state. The party was reacting to a statement by the Jammu provincial president of the NC, Devinder Rana, on the issue of Article 35A of the Constitution, which defines the residency laws in Jammu and Kashmir and bars outsiders from buying any immovable property or applying for jobs in the state government.
“We are taking a serious note of the statement...he (Rana) tried to create a scary picture of the ill-effects on the people of Jammu region if Article 35A is held illegal by the Supreme Court. He is creating a fear psychosis," BJP state spokesperson Anil Gupta said.
“His (Rana’s) statement that Jammu will be affected far more than Kashmir since no outsider will like to settle there but will flock in hordes to settle in Jammu clearly indicates the mindset of his party that has always advocated politics of exclusion," he said. It is a direct attack on the composite culture and communal tolerance of the people of Jammu, the BJP spokesman added.
The Supreme Court had last month asked the Centre to file a reply within three weeks to a writ petition filed by an NGO seeking that Article 35A be struck down. The plea said the state government, under the guise of Article 35A and Article 370, which grants special autonomous status to the state, has been discriminating against non-residents who are debarred from buying properties, getting a government job or voting in the local elections.
“The NC was responsible for promoting ‘majoritarianism’ in the state at the cost of the minorities leading to a demographic invasion of the Jammu region taking shelter under the discriminatory provision of Article 35A," Gupta said.
Gupta also took a dig at the NC leader for equating the West Pakistan Refugees with the Rohangiya refugees. “The comparison is not only absurd but defies all logic," he said.
The BJP spokesperson asked if the NC leadership was so sure of the legal correctness of Article 35A, why are they resorting to agitational politics and provoking the Kashmiris? “Rather than rabble-rousing, they should present their case before the Supreme Court," he added.