SRINAGAR — The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) President and member parliament Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that he and his party would not ‘jump’ but wait to see if the Government of India (GoI) was ready to remove mistrust existing on the ground in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Let me make it clear. I told them that the first Prime Minister promised us plebiscite and went back on it. (P. V.) Narasimha Rao promised us autonomy and said sky is the limit. He promised us autonomy on the floor of the House. Where is it?” Farooq said, while addressing media persons for the first time after the all-party meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“I tell you frankly there is level of mistrust and that mistrust has to be removed and how you (GoI) remove it, you have to decide. That is why Dr Karan Singh, if you see today’s newspaper, said that statehood must be brought forward,” he said.
“Let’s not jump. Let’s see what they do to remove that mistrust and will they continue the mistrust (sic),” Farooq said, as his son, Omar Abdullah, pushed him to say, “Ok, it is enough” to end the presser.
Farooq was responding to the question if there is any possibility of a second meet with the Central government. “Nothing is fixed as of now,” Omar, who was flanking Farooq, said.
Earlier at the start of the presser, the senior Abdullah said meeting with the Prime Minister was very good.
“Every party kept their opinion before them. It related to somehow better situation in J&K and start political process in J&K. I have nothing else to say. Unless I talk to my party, I can’t speak any further on the issue. Rest, Omar Sahib has talked to press regarding it,” Farooq said.
Asked whether his and other participants’ talking in individual capacities or a party representatives and not as PAGD (People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration) should be construed as an end of the alliance, Farooq said, “Why should there be end of the alliance?”
At this time, Omar interrupted and said, “We were not invited on the basis of the alliance. Had it been so, only one would have been invited. There the parties were invited. National Conference, PDP and CPI(M), who are members of Gupkar Alliance, attended the meeting. In the meeting, we didn’t say anything outside the agenda of the Gupkar Alliance.”
He further said, “We said that we don’t accept August 5, 2019 decisions. We have to peacefully, constitutionally, legally and politically do everything what it takes to undo it. Where did Gupkar Alliance deviate from agenda? Nobody among us Gupkar Alliance members said that we accept August 5 and move forward.”
The former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, said that at the all-party meeting, “we said people are disappointed and do not accept the decision.”
“We don’t want to betray people. If we tell people that we are seeking reversal of August 5 from Modi Sahib, it would be a betrayal? Those who snatched from us, shall we betray people by saying we are getting it back from them?”
He said that in the meeting chaired by the Prime Minister, both Mehbooba Mufti and Farooq Abdullah said that it took BJP 70 years to fulfill its agenda and “if it takes us 70 weeks or 70 months or whatever time, we will not retract from our mission.”
“Whatever we had to say, we said so in clear words and the Prime Minister listened. What else we had to say?”
Regarding the Delimitation Commission, Omar said that the party has authorized Farooq Abdullah to take any decisions as and when necessary. “There has been no fresh approach from the Delimitation Commission and as and it makes an approach to him, he will take the view.”
Asked what is that view, he said, “Why should we tell you (press) here, we will tell the Delimitation Commission.”
Asked regarding Union Home Mnister Amit Shah’s view that there ought to be delimitation and elections before the restoration of Statehood, Omar said, “Amit Shah’s talk came after others spoke. Before Prime Minister’s address, Ghulam Nabi Azad (senior Congress leader) expressed view on behalf of all of us and said that this timeline is not acceptable to us. Not delimitation-election-statehood but delimitation-statehood-election. If you have to conduct election, return statehood and then only there can be talk on elections.”
Omar further said, “This has been put across by Azad Sahib and we will continue to stress on it. We will do so time and again.”
Regarding Article 370, Omar said nobody except Ghulam Nabi Azad and Muzaffar Hussain Beigh ‘unfortunately’ talked about ‘sub judice’ nature of it. “We said we will fight for it peacefully, constitutionally, legally and politically,” Omar said, adding, “I don’t believe that just it is before the Supreme Court that we can’t talk about it. It is a subject of discussion. It was a subject in DDC polls. We will continue to agitate the matter. We will peacefully, constitutionally, legally and politically continue to exercise our right.”
Asked that until Article 370 is restored, will he not contest any elections personally, he said, “I am not sitting personally here. I represent my party. I have time and again answered this question that I have no intention of contesting elections for now and the party decision is there at its own place.”
Asked if it was about only the Assembly elections or included Parliament polls, he said, “What is you to do with it? I have said that I have no intention to contest elections for now.”
Asked if Muzaffar Beigh and Ghulam Nabi Azad by talking sub judice nature of Article 370 have weakened the stance of the Gupkar Alliance, Omar said, “Neither of them are members of the Gupkar Alliance. Muzaffar Hussain Sahib was the member and in fact he openly told the PM that he has no political allegiance and he doesn’t represent any party. Azad Sahib belongs to Congress and that they have their own view. This view is not binding on use and Gupkar Alliance.”
Omar further said, “Just because this matter is before the Supreme Court, or other matters are before it, does it mean we stop talking about them? Babri Majid demolition was before the Supreme Court and did BJP stop talking about it? They continue to push their agenda of Ram Temple. Just because the matter is sub judice or before the Supreme Court, it will not stop us from expressing our views and we will continue to do so.”
He added, “Talk to people in J&K. If anyone tells us to stop talking about hospital construction, Deputy Commissioner arrests someone for merely saying that he wishes to talk to a local officer as outsiders do not comprehend him, people are being harassed and arrested. There is an unchecked bureaucratic rule and if people say all this is good till there is decision from the Supreme Court, we will surrender.”
He said if people want relief and if they want there should be an officer who listens to them and address their problems and those who care about education and health, “the vehicle can move on both tracks.”
“We will not leave that fight (for the restoration of Article 370). However, wherever people get some kind of solace, we should do it.” (GNS)