Won’t die until rights of my people are restored: Farooq Abdullah
Jammu: Addressing his party workers in Jammu for the first time in over a year, a visibly emotional Farooq Abdullah on Friday said he won’t die until constitutional rights of the people of the erstwhile state are restored.
The National Conference (NC) president also assailed the BJP for “misleading the country” and making “false promises” to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as those in Ladakh.
“I will not die until the rights of my people are given back…. I am here to do something for the people and the day I will finish my work, I will leave this world,” Abdullah told NC workers who packed the Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here ahead of a scheduled meeting of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Saturday.
It was 84-year-old Abdullah’s first political meeting in Jammu since the abrogation of Article 370, which accorded Jammu and Kashmir special status, and bifurcation of the state into union territories in August last year.
Mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the NC and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), formed the PAGD last month for the restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state as it existed before August 5 last year and also to initiate a dialogue between all stakeholders on the issue.
Abdullah, accompanied by his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, arrived here this afternoon, their first visit to the region in over a year.
The Abdullahs, along with other political leaders in Kashmir, were detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA) and released this year.
Farooq Abdullah, the sitting parliamentarian from Srinagar and a former chief minister, said his party had never differentiated between Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir and always considered them a single entity.
“We have never thought that Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir are separate from each other. We could not be able to take the people of these regions on board at the time of the formation of the PAGD due to the urgency of the situation and now we are here,” Abdullah said.
He said the parties have joined hands to pitch for the restoration of the Article 370, Article 35-A and throw away the “black laws” which were implemented in Jammu and Kashmir beyond Lakhanpur — the gateway to the erstwhile state bordering Punjab.
No political party can ever afford to restore Article 370 in J&K: Jitendra Singh
New Delhi (PTI): No political party in India can ever afford to restore Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, Union minister Jitendra Singh on Friday said as he alleged that the bogey of autonomy or self-rule is raised by certain opposition leaders only when they are out of power.
Taking a strong exception to utterances by some of the leaders of “so-called mainstream Kashmir-centric” political parties like the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the national Conference (NC), he said unsubstantiated assertions made by these leaders are only motivated by a desperate attempt to hold back the ground which is fast slipping from under their feet.
“No political party in India can ever afford to restore back Article 370 and the unsubstantiated assertions made by these leaders are only motivated by a desperate attempt to hold back the ground which is fast slipping from under their feet,” Singh told PTI.
He also dared the Congress to make its stand clear on the issue, saying if it has the courage and conviction, it should go for the ensuing District Development Council (DDC) elections in Jammu and Kashmir with the slogan that it will restore Article 370 if voted to power at the Centre.
Singh, the Minister of State for Personnel, alleged that the bogey of autonomy or self-rule is raised by the leaders of National Conference and other Jammu and Kashmir-based political parties only when they are out of power.
He said the leadership of National Conference must explain to the people of Jammu and Kashmir why Farooq Abdullah did not find it appropriate to resign as chief minister when the autonomy resolution put forward by his government in the erstwhile state of J&K was summarily rejected by the then Vajpayee government at the Centre.
“Not only this, his son also continued as a junior minister in the Vajpayee government,” Singh said.
“Let us not forget that the decision to abrogate Article 370 was passed by the Parliament which also has members representing National Conference and PDP,” he said.
“If indeed, they are sincerely against the decision taken by the Parliament, why do they not, for the sake of minimum propriety, resign from their seats in Parliament so that the people may trust them for what they are saying,” he asked.
Accusing the political parties of Kashmir and their leaders of “having their cake and eating it too”, Singh said this craft of double-speak and change of stance overnight for political expediency is now meeting with the fate of diminishing returns.
He said three generations down the line, common masses are now wary of this jugglery and are not ready to be hoodwinked any longer.