After the Prime Minister announced the withdrawal of farm laws, National Conference is pushing for early restoration of the statehood and Article 370.
Soon after the Prime Minister announced withdrawal of the farm laws, the NC member parliament Hasnain Masoodi said the government should shun its arrogance and restore Article 370 to Jammu and Kashmir.
While analysts here say New Delhi has always seen Jammu and Kashmir through a security prism and will not even restore statehood to J&K, National Conference believes the government has no alternative but to restore Article 370.
“The restoration of early statehood and Article 370 is the only way forward. Otherwise, Kashmiris will continue to bleed and there will be hardly any progress in this part of the world,” former Chief Minister and Member Parliament Dr Farooq Abdullah told Outlook.
As in the winter session of the Parliament, the opposition may jointly corner the government over farm laws, National Conference would be interested to see whether the opposition will take issues of J&K. “I haven’t met opposition yet. I am going to Delhi tomorrow and I might meet the opposition and will talk about it,” Dr Abdullah says.
He says if the parliament is allowed to function he would raise the issue about the early restoration of the statehood and Article 370.
NC member parliament Hasnain Masoodi says there is a similarity between the abrogation of Article 370 and the farm laws. “See how the farm laws were enacted in the parliament, how they were defended by the government and how various ministers would heap praise on the laws for the past one year and also see how farmers were labelled. They were called Khalistanis. Their approach has been the same in case of Article abrogation of 370,” he says.
He says since August 5, 2019, the government has been marketing the decisions of abrogation of Article 370 and dismembering of state of Jammu and Kashmir as the decisions that ended uncertainty in J&K. “It has not ended uncertainty and the situation is becoming more and more volatile in J&K today. That is why I am saying there can be no better case than Jammu and Kashmir to go for introspection,” Masoodi says.
Masoodi says in this Parliament session the NC members would continue to insist the government relook at its decisions of August 5, 2019. “Today was constitutional day and how can we celebrate it when it has been trampled in case of Jammu and Kashmir,” Masoodi argues. He says for the past year the government kept on saying the farm laws are in favour of farmers and they are the best that has happened to farmers for the past 70 years. But ultimately it has eaten its own words and repealed the farms in the interests of farmers, he added.
Masoodi says like in the case of farms laws various petitions are pending before the Supreme Court challenge abrogation of Article 370.
NGO, People's Union of Civil Liberties (PUCL), Jammu and Kashmir High Court Bar Association and National Conference, former IAS officer turned politician Shah Faesal have filed petitions in the apex court challenging Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, which splits J&K into two Union Territories-Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and revocation of Article 370. The case has been admitted by the Apex Court.
“The petitions challenging abrogation of Article 370 have been formally admitted by the Supreme Court for hearing. It tells us Supreme Court did see merit in the petitions. The court referred petitions to the constitutional bench for hearing,” he says.
He says petitions challenging farm laws were also pending before the Apex Court but the government decided to repeal them. “Even if the matter is pending before the Apex Court, it doesn’t bar the government to restore the constitutional position to J&K,” he adds. “They would often say clock cannot be reversed. It can be. In the case of farms laws, the government did it and they should do it in case of Article 370 also,” Masoodi says.
“A few cultural programmes, an odd literary show cannot whitewash what is happening in Kashmir. The government should be brave enough to reverse the clock rather than letting J&K go into a spin,” he adds.