Fight for Article 370 will continue legally, democratically: Omar
Srinagar, June 26: National Conference (NC) president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said the Government of India (GoI) has to remove the “level of mistrust” between New Delhi and Kashmir.
Talking with media at his home after returning from an all-party meet convened by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi, Abdullah said that it is up to the GoI to “remove mistrust” that is in Jammu and Kashmir.
We were promised a plebiscite by the country’s first Prime Minister, but they backed out on it,” he said. “In 1996 Narasimha Rao before elections promised us autonomy and said the sky’s the limit, but not independence. We said we never asked for independence, we have asked for autonomy. He promised us from the floor of the house. Where is that?” he said.
“There is a level of mistrust. We should wait and see what they (GoI) do. Whether they will remove the mistrust or let it continue,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah, a three-time CM, said even senior Congress leader Karan Singh has called for the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir before holding elections.
However, Abdullah said he would hold discussions with his party leaders and the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) constituents before making any further statement at the meeting.
“I have not spoken with the media, because I think I first need to talk to my party and the PAGD members. We had a cordial meeting with the Prime Minister. All party members put forth their point of view. It was the first step in bringing normalcy in Jammu and Kashmir and initiating a political process,” he said.
NC vice-president and former chief minister Omar Abdullah said that nothing was discussed in an all-party meet outside the agenda of PAGD.
“We maintain that we do not accept August 2019 decisions and we will continue to fight against such decisions legally, democratically and peacefully,” Omar, who was accompanying his father, said.
“No PAGD member has accepted the August 05 decision. So, where did PAGD deviate from its agenda?” Omar said while replying to a question.
“We said that people were disappointed and didn’t accept the August 5 decision,” Omar said.
Omar said they would continue to strive for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, irrespective of how long it takes.
“It took 70 years for the BJP to succeed in their agenda of abrogation of Article 370. We won’t back off from our mission, even if it takes us 70 weeks or 70 months or more time,” he said.
However, Omar said it was made clear during the PM’s meeting that the statehood should be restored to Jammu and Kashmir before holding any Assembly elections.
“(Ghulam Nabi) Azad sahib spoke on behalf of all of us that we do not accept this timeline. We do not accept delimitation, election, statehood. We want delimitation, statehood and then the election. If you want to hold polls, you will have to restore statehood first,” Omar said.
On the process of delimitation, Omar said NC president Farooq Abdullah would take a view when approached by the delimitation commission.
On fighting elections, until Article 370 is restored, the former chief minister said that he has no intention of contesting elections for now, but the party decision is a separate matter.”