By Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Addressing his party workers in Jammu for the first time in over a year, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday said that if Jammu and Kashmir had to go with Pakistan, it would have happened in 1947 and no one could have stopped it.
His son and former chief minister minced no words to criticise the BJP government for allegedly peddling lies before and after the revocation of Articles 370 and 35-A in Jammu and Kashmir.
The father and son duo reached Jammu on Friday to take part in PAGD meet scheduled on Saturday.
“Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had then told Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru that our destiny lies with Mahatma Gandhi’s India and not of BJP’s India,” he said.
The Abdullahs came to Jammu for the first time following their detention in Srinagar on August 4, 2019.
“Let these people burn my effigies. Farooq doesn’t get intimidated by this. Come in front of me. I don’t pick batons and stones… come face me and my queries,” he said in a clear reference to BJP, whose leaders and workers have been torching his effigies after he made controversial remarks about China’s aid to restore the special status of J&K.
He also took a dig at the Centre for the dignified return of Kashmiri Pandits to Kashmir. “While Kashmiri Pandits are still in Jammu hoping to get back one day, for how long will you use them for votes and for how long will you spread hatred,” he said and cautioned the people against “divisive politics” of the BJP in the name of caste, creed, and religion.
The octogenarian said that National Conference won’t be deterred by arm-twisting tactics of the BJP government and the struggle to get back Article 370, 35-A and other privileges will be taken to its logical conclusion.
NC and PDP have formed the PAGD seeking restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state as it existed before August 5 last year and also to initiate a dialogue between all stakeholders on the issue.
NC vice-president Omar Abdullah also accused the BJP of resorting to conspiracies, fakeries and arm-twisting tactics.
“Many tried to perform last rites of NC but none succeeded. History is replete when our opponents tried to write us off but this programme today here in Jammu is a message for those who tried to peddle lies that NC is now confined to some areas of Valley,” Omar said.
Omar said that before August 5, 2019, several lies were peddled like there were no jobs, development and progress, people were starving, the majority endorsed separatist sentiment, penury and that people were not with the country because of Article 370.
“Similarly, another lie was that if Articles 370 and 35-A were revoked, all ills plaguing J&K will vanish into thin air overnight. It has been one year and three months now. Where is development and progress that was promised,” he said.
Omar also felt that revocation of special status has caused a spike in terrorism in the Union territory.
“There was another false claim that revocation of Article 370 will result in the complete amalgamation of those nurturing separatist sentiment with India but today I can confidently say those harbouring such sentiment have been further alienated from us”, he said.
“Not even a single citizen of J&K has accepted this draconian decision of the BJP government. While some say it openly, some confess it in whispers. Article 370 was not mentioned in Pakistan’s constitution. It was in the Indian Constitution. So, why can’t we discuss it and how does talking about it makes us anti-national,” he asked.
“This fight is of not of NC or one religion but of all regions and religions and we will succeed in it,” he added. ( HT )