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J&K govt hits back at Omar for remarks on Article 370

PTI | Jammu |

 Asserting that the Constitution of India is supreme, the Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday hit back at National Conference for accusing the PDP of allowing erosion of Article 370 which grants special status to the state, saying it was the opposition party which was responsible for it.

"The Constitution of India is supreme. Do you disagree with this that (Constitution of India) is supreme? And we have another Constitution, the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.

"I am a minister and I take oath under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir and swear by the Constitution of India.

There is no contradiction in it," the state's Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, who is also the official spokesman of the coalition government, told reporters here on Tuesday.

With regard to NC leader Omar Abdullah accusing PDP of "allowing step-by-step erosion of Article 370 through a series of politically patronized cases and litigations", the senior PDP leader said it was in fact the party of the former Chief Minister which has eroded the article.

Omar had made the allegation after the Supreme Court ruled that Jammu and Kashmir has "no vestige of sovereignty outside the Constitution of India".

"I am not accusing them of anything, I am just stating the fact that whatever has happened to the Article 370 so far, it is because of them (National Conference)," Akhtar said.

He said that the allegations levelled by National Conference would not stick.

"That is a charge that will never stick because it has always been the other way round. It is the National Conference which has utilized this Article for their political gains and been a party to its dilution, the PDP leader said.

He said PDP will never allow erosion of Article 370 as it was a commitment in the Agenda of Alliance of the government and a national consensus has emerged amongst all the political parties but NC was playing politics over it.

Commenting on Omar's remarks, Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said the opposition was desperate and was leveling such allegations.

"Actually they (NC) are desperate, they are referring to the stand taken by the state government. I think whatever the Supreme Court has said it is not a new thing. The same thing is there in the Constitution and (defines) our state and central relations, so they are only making an issue out of it, I think which is not proper, Singh said.