Omar apologises for ‘not securing a favourable outcome’; SC decision not the ‘final destination’, says Mehbooba; will impact federal structure of Constitution: Tarigami; Accept reality: Dr Karan Singh; Azad terms ‘sad and unfortunate’; disheartening, says Sajad; Apni Party seeks statehood
Srinagar, Dec 11 Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir on Monday expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s verdict upholding the constitutional validity of the Centre’s August 05, 2019, move to abrogate provisions of Article 370 and bifurcate the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.
As per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), the five-judge Constitution Bench, led by Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud, on Monday ruled that the provisions of Article 370 were temporary, and there were no issues with the exercise of power under Article 370(3) by the President in issuing the August 2019 order.
Vice President of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, Omar Abdullah while expressing dissatisfaction with the verdict pledged to continue the party’s “struggle for the restoration” of Article 370.
During a live stream on X (formerly Twitter), Omar described the decision as unexpected. He apologised to the people for not securing a favorable outcome.
“… We were not expecting such a verdict. We were hoping for justice for the people of Jammu and Kashmir from the highest court of the country. Unfortunately, we could not convince the 5 bench judges of the SC but I can say with certainty that we could not have done more than that. The fact is that our opponents also admitted that the National Conference left no stone unturned to defend the case and we could not have expected our lawyers Kapil Sibal and Gopala Subramaniam to present our case in a better way. In this moment of collective despair, we apologize to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and to those in the country who wanted us to succeed in this fight,” he said.
Despite the setback, the former chief minister said he will continue his “political and constitutional fight within the realm of law”.
“I want to tell the people that the matter does not end here, our efforts will not end here. Apart from the court, our position has always been that this is a political fight, a constitutional fight, a fight within the realm of law,” he added.
People’s Democratic Party
Former Chief Minister and President People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Mehbooba Mufti, urged the people not to lose hope, saying the Supreme Court’s decision is not the “final destination”. She criticised the government for “betraying” the people and called the verdict a blow to “the idea of India”.
“It is not our failure, but a failure of the idea of India. During the partition, J&K aligned with Gandhi’s secular India, so it is the demise of that ideal, not ours,” Mehbooba said.
Meanwhile, the PDP in a separate statement said it has suspended all of its political activities for the next one week. “The decision has been taken in order to stand in solidarity with the people of Jammu & Kashmir in the wake of the Supreme Court of India’s Judgment of the issue of Article 370,” the party said.
CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami while criticising the verdict and raised concerns about its impact on the federal structure of the Constitution. Tarigami also alleged that he was not allowed to leave his residence. He said media visits were prohibited, and there was an armoured vehicle stationed outside his gate.
The CPI(M) leader said the verdict implies that Jammu and Kashmir no longer retains any element of sovereignty after the signing of the Instrument of Accession, hence rendering the Constitution of J&K redundant.
He also criticised the verdict for treating J&K like any other state in the Indian Union, thereby depriving it of the special features granted to other regions under various clauses of Article 371.
“The verdict has evaded going into the merits of downgrading the state of J&K into two Union Territories, stating that the Solicitor General has promised the return of statehood. At the same time, the creation of a separate Ladakh Union Territory is upheld as valid. So, the restoration is not for the original state of J&K, but only a part of it and even that remains an assurance on paper,” the party said in a statement.
“Strangely, the Supreme Court directs the Election Commission of India to hold polls in J&K at the earliest not later than September 30, 2024. The verdict, thus, gives the Central government a long rope to retain control over J&K,” the CPI(M) added.
Democratic Progressive Azad Party
Chairman Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) Ghulam Nabi Azad termed the verdict as “sad and unfortunate”, saying the people of J&K are disappointed. “But we have to accept it,” he added.
Congress leader Dr Karan Singh
Congress leader and the son of the last Maharaja of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, Dr Karan Singh welcomed the decision. He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to restore statehood soon.
He advised those unhappy with the judgment to accept reality and acknowledge that the Supreme Court has validated the action.
“There’s no point in unnecessarily hitting their head against the wall,” Singh said and suggested redirecting energies towards preparing for the next elections instead of fostering negativity.
Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference chairman Sajad Lone expressed disappointment with the SC’s decision on Article 370, saying, “The Supreme Court’s decision on Article 370 is disheartening. Once again, justice seems out of reach for the people of J&K.”
“Article 370 may be legally erased, but it will always be a part of our political aspirations,” Lone said in a statement.
Regarding the issue of statehood, Sajad said, “The Supreme Court avoided commenting on it, possibly safeguarding the entire country from potential misuse by citing precedence.” However, he expressed hope for “justice” at a “later date”.
Apni Party said the Supreme Court’s verdict has saddened the people of Jammu and Kashmir “to the core”. “Over the years and decades, people had been led to believe that this article of the constitution was permanent,” the party said in a statement.
The party said, “The verdict from a five-judge Constitution bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India, has now clarified that the article is gone forever, leaving people deeply disheartened. It is the responsibility of the Central government to come forward and assure the people that they will not be subjected to disempowerment.”
Apni Party has urged the government to bring the domicile law into the constitutional framework in a way that guarantees the exclusive rights of the residents of Jammu and Kashmir to land and jobs.
“Additionally, the government should ensure the immediate restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and the prompt holding of assembly elections. This will enable the residents to exercise their democratic right of choosing their own representatives,” the party said.
- Athora Akter With over 04 years of experience in the field of journalism, Athora Akter heads the editorial operations of the JK News Live as the Executive Writer.
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