Farooq: Statehood Must To Rebuild Trust
New Delhi: National Conference president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Thursday urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to work towards building trust in Jammu and Kashmir by ensuring that its full statehood is restored.
Talking to PTI immediately after a crucial meeting chaired by the prime minister here, Abdullah said his National Conference would continue to challenge through legal and constitutional means the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Constitution.
“There is a loss of trust which needs to be restored immediately and for that, to begin with, the Centre should work for restoration of complete statehood to Jammu and Kashmir,” Abdullah, who is a Lok Sabha member, said.
“I conveyed to the prime minister that the statehood means reverting even the IAS and IPS cadres of Jammu and Kashmir. The state has to be in totality,” he said after the meeting that lasted for over three hours.
The NC chief, who was accompanied by his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, said it was vital for the Centre to restore the identity of Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest so that other democratic exercises could be carried forward.
Mehbooba: Restore Article-370, Statehood
Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti demanded restoration of statehood and Article 370 in the Valley, constitutionally and legally.
Coming out of the all-party meeting called by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, she said that she had told the Prime Minister that Article 370 was abrogated unconstitutionally and without taking the local government into confidence. “It was done illegally. It was a 70-year-old BJP agenda and they fulfilled it,” she said.
Mufti added that she conveyed to the Prime Minister that if they wanted to abrogate Article 370, they should have done it keeping people in the loop.
Since abrogation of Article 370, there is fear among the people as law enforcement agencies are putting common people behind bars on mere suspicion.
She demanded compensation to the people who suffered due to the lockdown after Article 370 abrogation.
The former chief minister said that India should also start engagement with Pakistan as they did to stop ceasefire violations. “The government should start talks with Pakistan to initiate business at the borders,” she said.
The leaders from Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and stressed on the restoration of the political process in the Valley.
The all-party meeting at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s residence at 7, Lok Kalyan Marg lasted for three and a half hours. It was attended by 14 leaders including veteran politician and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah.
Azad Lists Five Demands
Congress put up five demands at the all-party meeting convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with leaders of Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday including early statehood, conducting polls to restore democracy and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits.
Talking to media persons after the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s residence, Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad said they also demanded the release of political detainees and a bill concerning domicile rules.
“In today’s meeting, from Congress’s side, we informed the Prime Minister why the state should have not been dissolved. The move was done without consulting the elected representatives. But in the end, after saying all this, we have put up five big demands in front of the government,” Azad said.
“Statehood should be restored at the earliest was our first demand. We have told them that in Parliament, Home Minister had assured us that the statehood will be restored after some time. We said that the time has come as all elections are concluded including BDC and DDC and the border is also at peace,” Azad added.
The former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said the second demand was to conduct the legislative assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir at the earliest.
“They said they are doing everything to strengthen the democracy. We also want this and assembly elections should be conducted at the earliest. You did panchayat election, and there should also be legislative elections,” he said.
Congress also called upon the government to bring a bill giving guarantee regarding domicile and employment in the state to the residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We had historic domicile rules and also rules regarding employments. The government should give a guarantee that they will bring bills on land and employment,” Azad said.
The Congress leader said his party also demanded rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits and promised the government to help in the process.
“We asked the government to release all the political prisoners, not the militants, but political prisoners, at the earliest,” Azad said.
The Congress leader said that Home Minister Amit Shah spoke before the Prime Minister and said the Centre is committed to restoring the statehood and conduct assembly elections there,” he added.
The Congress leader said that the Centre assured them that their demands will be met.
Asked if there were discussions regarding the abrogation of Article 370, Azad said almost 80 per cent of parties spoke on Art 370 but the matter is sub judice in court.
BJP: No Dialogue With Pak
Opposing a dialogue with Pakistan till it stops “exporting” militancy into Jammu and Kashmir, a BJP delegation led by J&K president Ravinder Raina at an all-party meet here on Thursday said those seeking engagement with the neighbouring country should meet the victims of violence to understand their pain.
The meeting, which was held to chalk out the future political course of action in Jammu and Kashmir, was convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and it had in attendance 14 leaders from the Union Territory.
The delegation called for intensification of efforts to root out the “sense of Pakistan, separatism and militancy” from Jammu and Kashmir to provide a peaceful atmosphere to its people who are Indian to the core of their “heart, blood and DNA”, Raina told PTI at the end of the meeting.
He said the three-member BJP team, which also comprised of two former deputy chief ministers â€“ Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta – also pitched for constitution of an apex committee to hold dialogues with representatives of the Kashmiri migrant pandit community for their dignified return and rehabilitation in the Kashmir Valley at the earliest.
The BJP leader said he thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his sincere efforts to end the political deadlock by holding the dialogue with prominent leaders from Jammu and Kashmir.
“The prime minister knows the heartbeat of the people of Jammu and Kashmir as he has lived among them for a long time, and knows their pain as well. Those talking about holding dialogue with Pakistan should know that India enjoys good relations with every country except Islamabad which has bled J&K for the past 35 years by exporting militancy,” Raina told the meeting.
He said training camps for militants are still active in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir (PcK) and Pakistan, and in such a scenario, the policy of the Indian government is clear that gun and dialogue cannot go together.
“Those demanding dialogue with Pakistan should understand the pain of those who are the victims of Pakistan-sponsored militancy. They should meet them and ask whether we should hold dialogue with Pakistan and see their reaction,” the BJP leader said.
“We have to root out sense of Pakistan, separatism and militancy, and in this direction, efforts should be intensified,” Raina said.
He said that “Kashmiri pandits, Sikhs and nationalist Muslims had to flee their homes in the Valley in 1990 due to the Pakistani gun and migrate to different parts of the country”.
“We suggest the constitution of an apex committee to hold dialogue with the representatives of Kashmiri pandits for their dignified return and rehabilitation in the valley. The pandits are the ambassadors of the Indian nationalism,” Raina said.
He said the delegation also spoke about residents of Jammu and Kashmir who are living in areas under the illegal occupation of Pakistan. The government should pay special attention to them and become their voice as they are suffering the “worst kind” of human rights violations, Raina said.
Praising the prime minister, Raina said he understands the pain of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and is putting balm on their wounds ever since he came to power at the Centre.
“He was there among the people at Srinagar city centre Lal Chowk on Dilwali when they were hit by the worst ever floods in 2014 and announced Rs 80,000 crore special package for the development of J&K,” he said and listed various developmental projects in different sectors including health, education, roads, power and railways.
Defending the abrogation of Article 370 on August 5, 2019, Raina said that he told the meeting that the decision ended “grave injustice” of over 70 years with different communities including daughters of J&K, PoK refugees, West Pakistani refugees, Gorkha Samaj and Valmiki Samaj who were denied citizenship rights in the erstwhile state.
Raina also praised Modi for strengthening Panchayati Raj Institutions and said for the first time, elections to District Development Councils and Block Development Councils took place to strengthen grassroot democracy.
“People of Jammu and Kashmir are very happy after the abrogation of the Article 370 and expressed their faith by taking part in the democratic exercise which is evident from the 80 per cent turnout in the elections,” he said.
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