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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has reiterated that Article 370, that grants special autonomous status to the state, should remain intact.

In a series of tweets, Mufti demanded for autonomy and self-rule in the Valley, saying “Democracy is a battle of ideas and dialogue is the only way forward. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has an unprecedented mandate and can create history by changing the narrative on Jammu and Kashmir”.

“The country should take advantage of Jammu and Kashmir`s geostrategic location and revive its traditional routes to foster greater economic activity. Article 370 is the nation`s commitment to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and therefore should be honoured,” the J&K CM’s another tweet said.

Mufti’s statements come at a time when some state BJP leaders have demanded removal of Article 370.

J&K BJP spokesperson professor Virender Gupta had recently said Article 370 is responsible for keeping the settled issue of J&K alive and encourages the separatists and external forces to interfere in the internal matters of India.

“The time has come when the people of Jammu and Kashmir should say goodbye to Article 370 and ask the Government of India to revoke Article 35 A,” he had said.

Article 370 grants special status to J&K, while Article 35 A, added to the Indian Constitution through a presidential order, empowers the J&K legislature to define the state’s “permanent residents” and their special rights and privileges.

The BJP is a part of the ruling alliance in J&K where it has partnered the PDP.

Article 35 A has come under focus after two Kashmiri women approached the Supreme Court and challenged it. They contended that it had disenfranchised their children.

The Supreme Court on October 30 deferred the hearing on challenge to the Constitution’s Article 35A granting special rights to natives of Jammu and Kashmir as the Central government told the court that it may have implications for the dialogue being held by its interlocutor Dineshwar Sharma to find solution to the state’s troubled situation.

The bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra, Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice DY Chandrachud adjourned the matter for eight weeks as Attorney General KK Venugopal told the court that the Centre’s special representative was holding dialogue with different stakeholders to find some solution and if hearing on the challenge to Article 35A takes place, then it will have some effect.

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In a shocking incident, a 19-year-old girl student was gang-raped for three hours in the Madhya Pradesh capital on Tuesday night.

The girl, preparing for the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) exams, was allegedly abducted and raped by four men near Habibganj Railway Station.

The 19-year-old was allegedly abducted near the Habibganj Railway Station when she was returning home after attending a coaching class in Maharana Pratap Nagar.

The four men allegedly tied the girl and took turns to sexually assault her. The accused, as per the reports, even took tea and gutkha breaks before returning to repeatedly rape her.

The alleged victim’s mother is a police constable, while father is associated with Railway Protection Force (RPF).

Meanwhile, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has taken cognizance of the gang-rape case and directed trial in fast-track court.

While, SHO Habibganj Bhupendra and SHO Maharana Pratap Nagar Sanjay Singh have been suspended, Maharana Pratap Nagar CSP has been removed from post.

On the basis of the complaint lodged by the woman, a case was registered at the GRP Police Station (Habibganj Railway Station) as the area where the crime occurred falls under their jurisdiction.

The accused have been identified as Golu Bihari, Amar Chhantu, Rajesh, and Ramesh.

“They have been booked under sections 376 D (gang rape) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention),” a police officer said.