PAGD is intact, doing its job: Omar
Srinagar: The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — a coalition of six parties seeking the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status — is intact and is doing its job, National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah said on Saturday.
The NC leader’s assertion came amidst speculations that the alliance was breaking apart.
“The PAGD is still there. They met 10 days back. They are doing their job, but it is not like they will meet everyday just to keep you happy. They are working at their own level,” he told reporters in Baramulla when asked if the alliance was still united.
There have been speculations that the alliance which includes the NC, PDP, CPI and the CPI(M) was breaking apart due to differences among its constituents.
Addressing a party workers’ convention in Jammu region recently, Abdullah had blamed the PDP for the abrogation of Article 370, which granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.
At a public gathering at Chatroo in Inderwal, he said the BJP took advantage of “our weakness”.
“Following the Assembly elections of 2014 in Jammu and Kashmir, I extended a hand of friendship to Mufti Mohammad Sayeed (PDP founder). I warned him against stitching an alliance with the BJP and told him it would prove to be extremely dangerous for the people of Kashmir,” said Abdullah, a former chief minister.
After his remarks, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti had told his party leaders not to speak against any party which is a part of the PAGD so as not to destabilise the alliance.
Meanwhile, asked about a meeting of the Delimitation Commission scheduled for December 20 and whether the three NC MPs would participate in it, Abdullah said he had no knowledge of any such meeting.
“I did not know about this. I am hearing it for the first time from you. I will confirm whether it is like that and can only then talk to you about it,” he told reporters.
Earlier, addressing his party workers in Baramulla, Abdullah said neither the gun fell silent nor the separatist ideology disappeared in Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370 as promised by the BJP.
“It was said that the basic reason of the gun in Kashmir is Article 370 and when it is revoked, the guns will go away. But, have the guns gone silent? It has been two years, four months and six days since it was revoked, but only yesterday two policemen lost their lives in Bandipora. If Article 370 was the basic reason for the gun, then why is there mourning in the homes of the two policemen,” he said.
The NC vice-president said encounters between security forces and militants were taking place every day in Kashmir and even in those places where “we had got rid of the gun”.
“New youths are picking up the gun today. Were we not told that the separatist ideology is also because of (Article) 370 and that this ideology will go away when (Article) 370 is revoked. I do not see it (separatist ideology) has ended,” he said.
The former chief minister said the revocation of the special status of the erstwhile state has in no way made the lives of the people better.
“Neither have our jobs come, or developmental activities taken place, or new power projects built, or health or education infrastructure made better, neither has the gun gone away or the separatist ideology ended. So…what was the aim of revoking Article 370?
“What was achieved by breaking the promises made to us and by cheating us? Why is there a step-motherly attitude with us? Why is the future of our children seen differently than those in Ladakh where there are land rights, job rights or scholarships the same way as they were before (Article) 370 was revoked?” he said.
Criticising the Centre for stopping the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and the cross-Line of Control (LoC) trade, the NC leader said the bus service was started by BJP leader and former prime minister A B Vajpayee and asked if he (Vajpayee) was wrong.
“Was Vajpayee wrong when he started the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad bus service and people were allowed across? If he was wrong, then I would say it is the right decision to stop the bus service. I want to hear it from the BJP people that the leader whom they conferred a Bharat Ratna was wrong. I want to hear from the BJP leaders that by starting the bus service, Vajpayee had put the country in danger,” he said.
He said if Vajpayee was not wrong, then the decision to stop the bus service was wrong and then the BJP has “cheated” the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Then taking away this confidence-building measure was your mistake. Was the creation of infrastructure at Salamabad for cross-LoC trade wrong then? You say that some people used it for wrongdoings. Where don’t people make mistakes? Is there no evasion in the GST or income tax? Will you then stop the whole tax system?
“Power theft is there sometimes, does that mean the power supply be cut for everyone. If an apple is rotten, you do not throw away the whole carton, you throw away that apple only,” he said.
Abdullah said if some people were misusing the trade, it does not mean that the whole trade be stopped.
“Your (Centre’s) job was to take action after investigation against those who were misusing the trade. But, unfortunately, you hammer everything and then present it to the world in a false manner,” he said. (With PTI inputs)