A police officer holds a portrait of Deputy Superintendent of Police Aman Kumar Thakur, who was killed in an encounter with militants in Kashmir's Kulgam district, during a wreath laying ceremony in Jammu, Monday, Feb. 25, 2019. Image Credit: PTI

New Delhi: With the Supreme Court (SC) likely to hear petitions on the constitutional validity of Article 35A which grants special status to Kashmir, veteran Congress leader and former union minister Saifuddin Soz on Monday said that Kashmir’s relation with the Indian union will be over if the Article was repealed.

“It is not known why this strong military force has been deployed in the valley of Kashmir. Locals of Kashmir get shocked seeing military forces around them. And if Articles 35A or 370 are repealed by the court, Kashmir’s relation with the union will also get severed,” Soz told media.

The top court is likely to hear the bunch of petitions challenging Article 35A this week.

Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led union government, Soz said relationships cannot be established with haters.

“Our relationship is with secular India. So much has been damaged in the last four years and no further expectations lie ahead. We cannot have any contact with haters,” he said.

He questioned Modi over the steps taken by him in the last four-and-a-half years to resolve the Kashmir issue.

“So far what has the Prime Minister done for people of Kashmir? During his tenure as the PM, casualties suffered by security forces in terrorist violence has been the highest. This is a political issue and the solution should be political,” he said.

While Article 35A of the Constitution accords special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir (J & K) and bars people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state, Article 370 gives autonomous status to the state.

Soz alleged that Hindu fundamentalist outfit Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) was “unusually keen” to scrap Articles 35A and 370.

“It is the RSS which has approached the Supreme Court over scraping Article 35A. This will sever the relationship between the state and the union. RSS has already caused a lot of damage to the country. This is not going to give any benefit in 2019 polls? There will be chaos in 2019,” former union minister Soz claimed.

He warned that if Articles 35A and 370 were tampered, he would unite with former J & K Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti from People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Omar Abdullah from National Conference (NC) to protest at Kashmir’s iconic Lal Chowk.

Condemning last week’s terror attack on soldiers of Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Kashmir’s Pulwama, Soz said that the attack was carried out by a local boy who had turned into a militant because of the “atrocities committed by Indian army in Kashmir.”

“What the local boy did in Pulwama was wrong. But the police made him a militant. If they don’t become a militant, what will they do? The paramilitary forces in Kashmir made local boy militants. This is home-grown militancy,” he stated.

Meanwhile, PDP chief Mufti said that tampering with Article 370 and Article 35A will render the Treaty of Accession to the union of India null and void.

“Article 370 is the Constitutional connection between Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Union. The instrument of accession is contingent on Article 370, which is inextricably linked to Article 35A. Any tampering will render Treaty of Accession null and void,” Mufti tweeted.

She said that the Kashmir Valley was rife with speculation about the status of Article 35A.

“Before taking a decision, the government must consider that J & K was the only Muslim-majority state that chose a secular India over Pakistan during partition,” Mufti said.