Majid Kapra

PAGD stands united, will continue to be united in future as well: Farooq Abdullah

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Lone questions need to detain people when elections were conducted peacefully

Srinagar: PAGD president Farooq Abdullah on Thursday said that the alliance is united, and will continue to remain so in future as well.

Addressing media after chairing a meeting of seven-party People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), Farooq Abdullah said the alliance would work together in future as well and that there should be no doubt about it.

“Absolutely! Why do you have doubts about that? We are united and we will continue to be united for what this People’s Declaration stands for,” Abdullah said when as if the Gupkar alliance will continue in the future.

He also said the government should immediately release all PDP leaders who were “detained” ahead of the announcement of the District Development Council (DDC) election results if it wants democracy to survive.

Abdullah alleged the leaders, including former minister Naeem Akhtar, are “held up in ‘thanas’ (police stations) for no any rhyme or reason”.

Besides Akhtar, Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) Sartaj Madni and Mansoor Hussain were among 20 leaders taken into preventive custody a day before the counting of votes for the DDC elections began on Tuesday, according to officials.

The PDP is part of the seven-party PAGD.

“Those people who are held up in thanas for no rhyme or reason must be released immediately if you want democracy to survive,” Abdullah said.

PAGD spokesperson Sajad Gani Lone questioned the need to detain people when the elections were conducted peacefully.

“What is the logic? The election has ended. It has been one of the most peaceful elections in the last three decades. The most non-violent, peaceful election — and this should have ended with something good,” he said.

“We met here to express our gratitude to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, to those who voted for us and to those who did not vote for us. We express our gratitude to people who came out in large numbers and reposed faith and strengthened democracy in J&K,” Lone said.

He said the DDC elections were held in extremely peaceful and non-violent manner, but ended up with arbitrary detentions.

“That it ends with preventive detentions is something totally antithetical to the way the elections have been held in terms of peace, lack of violence while traditionally, in the last three decades, we have seen so much of violence,” he added.

Lone further said, “We condemn these detentions with all the power that we have. And we just hope that after such a great performance of democracy, we are not faced with these arbitrary detentions. They (PDP leaders) should be released immediately. This is our demand. We are here today with the mandate of the people, a majority and a decisive mandate, and we say that they should be released.”

The PAGD swept the maiden DDC polls by winning 110 seats, while the BJP emerged as the single largest party with 75 seats after securing the largest vote share in Jammu and Kashmir.

Counting of votes in two of the total 280 constituencies, one each in Bandipora and Kupwara districts of north Kashmir, was deferred till further orders, officials had said.

Farooq Abdullah, who is also the Member of Parliament from Srinagar, also urged the Centre to restore high-speed mobile Internet in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We request the government that 4G should be restored immediately. It is unfortunate that the people of this state, our children, students, business-people are suffering because now everything is online. When the prime minister is talking about 5G, we do not even have 4G. This should be restored as quickly as possible,” he said.

Except for Ganderbal and Udhampur, high-speed mobile Internet has remained suspended across the union territory since August 05, 2019, when the Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state.

He also asked the administration to ensure uninterrupted power and water supply during ‘Chillai Kalan’ season, alleging that people of Jammu and Kashmir have suffered for ages due to lack of these facilities.

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