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Omar breaks his silence on abrogation of Article 370: Says will not contest assembly elections as long as J&K remains a UT

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Srinagar: Former Chief Minister of erstwhile J&K state and vice president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Omar Abdullah broke his silence, almost a year after abrogation of Article 370 by Narendra Modi-led government, saying “while J&K remains a Union Territory I will not be contesting any Assembly elections”.

“We, in the J&K National Conference, do not agree with what has been done to J&K nor do we accept what has been done. We shall oppose this, our opposition will continue in the highest court in the land in the form of the legal challenge filed in the Supreme Court last year. We have always believed in democracy and peaceful opposition,” Omar wrote for the Indian Express newspaper.

“Sadly these very democratic rights were trampled on a year ago. Dozens of mainstream politicians were placed in “preventive arrest” and many more under illegal house arrest. In fact, a number of these leaders are still under illegal detention a year later. The National Conference has lost thousands of workers and office-bearers to militant violence because of our choice to remain a mainstream political party while opposing the separatist politics that grew in the late 1980s. Given the orchestrated campaign against mainstream political parties in most of the national media, particularly at the hands of the ruling dispensation, it’s easy to find oneself asking whether the sacrifices were worth it,” he wrote for the newspaper.

“As for me, I am very clear that while J&K remains a Union Territory I will not be contesting any Assembly elections. Having been a member of the most empowered Assembly in the land and that, too, as the leader of that Assembly for six years, I simply cannot and will not be a member of a House that has been disempowered the way ours has. With almost all of my senior colleagues still detained in their homes, the NC is yet to meet to decide its next political course of action and I will work diligently to strengthen the party, carry forward its agenda and continue to represent the aspirations of the people while we fight against the injustices heaped on J&K in the last one year,” he said.

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