"Though the minister has retracted it, we still condemn the statement because there were apprehensions that the BJP government, especially with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will be divisive. But the PM had made a very good start by inviting SAARC leaders to the swearing-in ceremony,” Mehbooba said.     

"He tried to connect with the neighbours in spite of many problems and conflicts, so we appreciated that. Whereas the PM was on one hand trying to connect with the neighbours and was having talks with (Pakistan Prime Minister) Nawaz Sharif, and it was a reconciliatory measure, on the other hand, his minister issued a statement which has a potential to divide the state of Jammu and Kashmir on communal lines," Mehbooba further said.
    
She said that even in the past lot of efforts were made by many leaders to abolish the Article 370.
    
"I hope this is the last time we are hearing about its abolition. With such statements, unfortunately, we are moving towards another partition and division," Mehbooba further said.
    
The PDP chief noted that in the past many jurists and experts told leaders that Article 370 cannot be touched because it is the basis of the relationship of the state with the rest of the country.

(Agencies)

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