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Omar Abdullah On Minister’s Article 370 Remark

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National Conference leader Omar Abdullah hit out at Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad (File)

Srinagar:

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah took a swipe at Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad today over comments on the restoration of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, reminding him that India’s judiciary was independent and asking him not to second-guess Supreme Court judges.

“Dear Ravi Shankar Prasadji, we don’t expect you to restore anything but unless you are suggesting the Supreme Court has surrendered its independence and takes dictation from you please don’t presume to know what the honourable judges will decide,” Mr Abdullah wrote on Twitter.

On Saturday Mr Prasad responded to PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti’s call for a renewed push against the central government on Article 370 and other issues relating to Jammu and Kashmir.

The minister asserted that not only would special status not be restored to the region, as Ms Mufti demanded, but also that her comments about the national flag were “downright denunciation”.

Mr Prasad also said that special status to J&K – which was removed in August last year and followed by the prolonged detention of political leaders in the region, as well as a massive security blanket to prevent backlash and protests – was revoked after a proper constitutional process.

A day earlier Ms Mufti – in her first press conference since being released from 14 months of detention – said she would not raise the national flag until Jammu and Kashmir’s flag, constitution and status (as under Article 370) were restored.

In a scathing attack on the centre – she called them “robbers” who had stolen constitutionally-guaranteed rights. Ms Mufti also said her party would not “abandon the constitutional battle” to reclaim special status that had been withdrawn by the centre.

Hours later BJP and Congress leaders in J&K both reacted strongly to her remarks.

J&K BJP president Ravinder Raina demanded the former Chief Minister be booked for a “seditious act and put her behind bars”. The Congress’s spokesperson, Ravinder Sharma, said such statements were “intolerable and unacceptable”.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing multiple petitions filed by several mainstream political parties from J&K, including the National Conference, against the central government’s decision to revoke special status for the former state.

Along with the revocation of special status the central government also divided J&K into two union territories.



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