Will strive for J&K’s special status: Omar

The National Conference leadership has been forced by the prevailing circumstances to struggle for the restoration of ‘statehood’ to the  erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir.

National Conference vice president and former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday said they would continue to strive for the restoration of Jammu & 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. During the all-party meet with the Prime Minister it was made clear to the Centre that the statehood should be restored to Jammu & Kashmir before holding Assembly elections. 

Omar was interacting with the media persons upon their arrival from New Delhi after attending the all-party meeting with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Sitting in the company of his father and National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar said, senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad also 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 election. If you want to hold polls, you will have to restore Statehood first”.

Joining the chorus, Dr Farooq Abdullah said,  there was “a level of mistrust” in Jammu & Kashmir and it was for the Centre to remove it.

He said the country’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru promised plebiscite to the people of J&K, but went back on it. He also said that before the 1996 elections, the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had promised autonomy from the floor of the house.

“Narasimha Raoji before elections promised us autonomy and said sky is 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?” Farooq asked.

“There is a level of mistrust….We should wait and see what they (the Centre) do… Whether they will remove the mistrust or let it continue,” he added.

The former CM said even senior Congress leader Karan Singh has called for the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir before holding elections.

Commenting on the reports of rift within the Gupkar Alliance Dr Abdullah dismissed suggestions that the June 24 meeting with the Prime Minister signaled the end of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD). “Why should it be the end of the alliance?”

Dismissing suggestions that the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) was weakened after the meeting, Omar said that in the all-party meet alliance members said nothing which was outside the spirit of the grouping.

“We maintain that we do not accept the August 2019 decisions and we will continue to fight them legally, democratically and peacefully,” he said.

On the process of delimitation, he said the National Conference had authorised its president Farooq Abdullah to take a view as and when the party is approached by the delimitation commission again.

Referring to some leaders refusing to talk about the restoration of Article 370 as the matter was subjudice, Omar said it should not come in the way of discussing the issue.

“Firstly, only two persons said the matter is subjdice — Azad and Muzaffar Hussain Baig — and they both are not part of the PAGD. The matter is before the Supreme Court does not mean we cannot talk about it. The Babri Masjid case was before the Supreme Court but the BJP raised the Ram Temple issue all along, he said.

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