Scrapping Article 370 was ‘marital rape’, assault on faith of J&K, says PDP’s Naeem Akhtar

Senior PDP leader Naeem Akhtar |
@brighterkashmir | Twitter

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Srinagar: Senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader and former cabinet minister of Jammu and Kashmir Naeem Akhtar Monday said the decisions taken by the Narendra Modi government, including scrapping of Article 370 and the Citizenship Amendment Act, have rekindled the Hindu versus Muslim discourse, and created a ‘South Asian Ummah’ (Muslim unity), extending from Khyber (in Pakistan) to Chittagong in Bangladesh.

In an exclusive interview to ThePrint ahead of the first anniversary of the government’s Article 370 move, Akhtar described the decision as “marital rape”.

“I would compare the 5 August decision with marital rape because a marriage is done according to rules, according to law, but then there is one party which enforces itself on the other. That is what happened to Kashmir on 5 August. We were part of a covenant, a Constitution, which was used against us to achieve goals that were antitheses of why we had joined the Union of India,” Akhtar, considered the closest adviser of PDP chief and former CM Mehbooba Mufti, told ThePrint.

On 5 August, the Modi government revoked Article 370 that granted special powers to J&K, and bifurcated the region into two union territories of J&K and Ladakh with and without an assembly, respectively.

PDP’s future

On National Conference vice-president and former J&K CM Omar Abdullah’s statement that he won’t contest the assembly elections until full statehood is restored, Akhtar said the PDP has its own view.

“That is Mr Omar Abdullah speaking for himself. PDP has its own agenda, its own view. Since our president (Mehbooba Mufti) is still (booked) under PSA (Public Safety Act), we will take a call on this,” he said.

“But I have no doubt in my mind that PDP believes that whatever happened on 5 August and later is a direct assault on the identity, faith and culture of Jammu and Kashmir, and Kashmir is its focus target. I don’t think with this being so, it can be business as usual,” said Akhtar, who was detained for around 11 months under the PSA after the Article 370 move.

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