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BJP took advantage of ‘weak’ NC to abrogate Article 370 in J&K: Omar

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Jammu: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Tuesday said the BJP-led central government was able to abrogate Article 370 after his party was rendered weak after the 2014 elections with PDP founder Mufti Mohammad Syed declining his offer of unconditional support and stitching an alliance with those who do not have “good intentions” towards Jammu and Kashmir.

Omar asked the people to support the National Conference and make it further strong to help “reverse the changes which were forced on the people of Jammu and Kashmir” on August 05, 2019 with the abrogation of the Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into two union territories.

In a reference to Lt Governor Manoj Sinha’s statement that his administration is working for the welfare of all the people of the union territory, and not just a select few, Omar said, “I do not see it happening. What we see is that this government is only for the benefit of BJP and a few leaders of some Kashmir-based parties.”

Addressing a public meeting at Chatroo in Inderwal assembly constituency of Kishtwar district, he said, “We have started a fight for Jammu and Kashmir and its people following the changes which were forced on us – the changes which were possible because the National Conference was weak. If we had not lost the (assembly) seats in 2014 elections and formed the government, neither would they have removed Article 370 or Article 35-A nor taken away land transferred to the people under Roshni Act or given jobs and contracts to outsiders,” the former chief minister said.

He said the BJP-led central government took advantage of the “weak position” of the NC and snatched what was given to the people of J&K by the Constitution.

“I had foreseen such a situation and went to Mufti Sahib to extend unconditional outside support for forming the government. I told him that the path he is going to tread (by forming the government with BJP) will be a disaster for J&K and we will not be able to save ourselves,” he said, adding “I told him that I have no greed for power as I have just completed six years as chief minister, and that he should desist from bringing those to power who do not have good intentions for J&K.”

Mufti had his compulsions and took a decision, he said and referred to a famous couplet “(Ye Jabr Bhi Dekha Hai, Taarikh Ki Nazron Ne), Lamhon Ne Khata Ki Thi, Sadiyon Ne Saza Payi’ (much injustice has been seen by the eyes of history/when for a mistake made by a moment, centuries were punished).

“We do not know how long we have to suffer for that decision,” Omar said.

Targeting the Centre, he said all its claims that the revocation of the Article 370 will bring peace, development, investments, jobs and end militancy have proved false.

“Just tell me one thing which you have achieved in the past nearly two-and-half years,” he asked and said “we get tired of highlighting the developmental works done by us till 2018 but they were unable carry forward the development and even failed to depute officers to new blocks, tehsils, sub-divisions created by our government to bring governance closer to the public.”

Stating that Chenab region has suffered immensely in terms of employment prospects after August 2019, he said the outsourcing of jobs and small contracts on all major dams, road and rail infrastructure projects in Chenab districts has deeply hurt the economic and employment interests of the local people who ideally should have the first right over their resources.

Much of the infrastructure built up in the region, he said, came up during successive NC-led governments. “Much of the good work initiated in our time wasn’t continued. The region has been shunted out of developmental radar, there is no semblance of good governance in the entire region, which has traditionally suffered on the development front due to its severe topography,” he said.

“The idea behind bringing major power and infra-projects to the Chenab region was to perk up the employment scenario in this region, but unfortunately after the special status was snatched from us, our jobs, our land rights and our exclusive rights on our resources were also curtailed,” Omar Abdullah said.

The Chenab region, he maintained, has been at the receiving end. “The jobs and contracts that were meant for locals went to outsiders. Today you have no rights over your mineral resources including the water. This region provides electricity to lakhs of households but the majority of the households here are still reeling under darkness,” he added.

He said that it is this brewing alienation, and disempowerment, that NC is fighting at all fronts. “This is the fight for our rights, our land, our future generations, our unemployed youth, our poor, and especially for the disempowered sections of society in Chenab valley. We will continue with our fight with people’s support, peacefully, democratically, constitutionally, and legally,” he said.

Accepting failure of the party leadership to win Inderwal assembly constituency since 2002, Omar promised a local candidate for the seat in the upcoming elections.

“Though this is not the election time and I have come to assure you that whenever the elections are declared – whether in 2022, 23 or 24 – we will give preference to the local candidate and this time there will be no candidate who will be dropped by helicopter or parachute,” he said.

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