BJP corners Omar Abdullah for demanding compensation for stone-pelters
New Delhi [India], Feb 3 : Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National General Secretary Ram Madhav on Saturday cornered Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (NC) working president Omar Abdullah for demanding compensation for the stone-pelters in the valley. "National Conference's stand in the present circumstances has not been helpful to maintain peace and normalcy in the state. It is bordering on irresponsibility. They should understand that it is much beyond mere politics and involves larger national security interests. Actions of the government there must be supported by one and all," Madhav told ANI. Abdulllah had put forth the demand while speaking in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. Madhav further rebuffed talks about government spending crores on Hurriyat leaders' security, "Security provided to Hurriyat leaders is minimal and as per the requirements." Madhav's comments on the prevailing political situation in Jammu and Kashmir came days former chief minister Omar Abdullah cautioned incumbent Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti about the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) possibly using the judicial route to revoke special status for the state. "You accuse us of making issues of non-issues. But I tell you issues are not created by us (opposition). Issues (controversial) are being created by the government. I am informing you about a coming issue and it is about the Article 370 and Article 35 (A). The BJP will use the judiciary to do away with the special status of J&K," Omar Abdullahsaid in the state assembly earlier this week. The Supreme Court is hearing a petition filed by an NGO seeking that Article 35(A) be struck down. The plea said the state government, under the guise of Article 35(A) 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 party might not be thinking about using the legislative course but it will surely use the judicial route", Omar said as the House heard him with pin drop silence. The Bharatiya Janata Party is in coalition with the Peoples Democratic Party in Jammu and Kashmir. Omar said if the Chief Minister would take the challenge to the Article 35 (A) the way the state government dealt with the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002 (also known as the SARFAESI Act), then the state will have to face difficult times. In July 2015, J&K High Court had invoked J&K's special status to suggest that various provisions of SARFAESI Act were outside the legislative competence of parliament in the case of Jammu and Kashmir. The High Court had said that SARFAESI was in collision with Section 140 of the J&K Transfer of Property Act and was inapplicable to banks such as the SBI. The Supreme Court had in December 2016 rejected the Jammu and Kashmir High Court's view that the J&K Constitution was equal to the Constitution of India. Jammu and Kashmir High Court had asserted the state's "sovereignty" and "sovereign powers", but the Supreme Court said J&K "has no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India". "Don't tell us tomorrow that you are creating an issue of the Article 35 (A)? This (the issue) is not made by us. If you are spending crores on making a house, do spend lakhs to defend the case and get good lawyers," Abdullah had said. He also urged Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to come clean on the amnesty scheme being offered to first and second time stone pelters. "You (government) should elaborate the facts about who are first time and second-time offenders of stone pelting and kindly clear the amnesty policy," said Abdullah while speaking on grants of departments with the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in the Legislative Assembly. He also raised the issue of tying a civilian Farooq Dar in front of the jeep by the army during parliamentary by-polls in Budgam district and sought clarifications from Chief Minister Mufti on the compensation that was to be offered to the civilian. "You did not compensate him because that would prove army was guilty," he said adding that it was better for Farooq Dar to be a stone-pelter because then at least the Hurriyat would have owned him. The State Human Rights Commission has reportedly recommended an amount of Rs 10 lakhs as compensation to be given to Dar. The National Conference Working President also sought the constitution of a high-level Special Investigation Team (SIT) to investigate into the twin FIRs on the killing of three civilians in Ganovpora Shopian by the Army. "It is an extraordinary situation where in the army has lodged a counter FIR and therefore investigations should be carried out by a high-level team of Police Officers," Abdullah said. He expressed concern over the instable and restless security situation in the state, and said that from Shopian to Kathua, blood was being spilt without any sign of an improvement in the situation. He also expressed grief and disappointment at the continued loss of lives due to incessant border shelling on Line of Control and the International Border.
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