No government lasts forever,’ says Omar Abdullah on fight to restore Article 370

No government lasts forever,’ says Omar Abdullah on fight to restore Article 370

New Delhi starts realizing August 5 decision was wrong, says NC’s MP Hasnian Masoodi

NC condemns treatment meted out to media houses

KD Desk

Srinagar, Oct 16 : National Conference leader Omar Adbullah said no government lasts forever, referring to the Bharatiya Janata Party at the Centre. He added that the recently-formed coalition, thePeople’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, will continue to fight for the restoration of special provisions under Article 370 that was abrogated on August 5, 2019, reported India Today.

“We’re not begging the government of India,” Abdullah said in an interview with India Today. “Our fight is in the Supreme Court. I’m not going to go to PM [Prime Minister Narendra] Modi with a begging bowl. No government lasts forever. We will wait. We will keep the pot boiling. We will not give up.”

On the alliance, he said that it was not opportunistic but political. Abdullah said that the coalition was a continuation of the meeting of the parties of Jammu and Kashmir that took place a day ahead of the Centre’s August 5 move. “Today [Thursday], we met to give it a proper name, a formal structure, a proper agenda,” he added.

The former chief minister further said that politics in Jammu and Kashmir is now centred on the restoration of special provisions of Article 370. “It [politics] is a constitutional and peaceful way to get back what was snatched from us unconstitutionally and illegally,” he added.

Omar Abdullah also clarified his father and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah’s statement that Article 370 will be restored with China’s help. Omar Abdullah said that his father did not make the statement, adding that the statement was formulated by a BJP spokesperson. He clarified that Farooq Abdullah had said that China was commenting on Jammu and Kashmir’s internal affairs.

The NC leader also refuted that his father said Beijing had intruded into Jammu and Kashmir because of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and that the people of the Union Territory would prefer being Chinese citizens. Omar Abdullah reiterated that his father was not supporting China, added that the NC chief was only reflecting what the people of Jammu and Kashmir felt.

A controversy had erupted on Sunday after Farooq Abdullah in another interview with India Today had claimed that the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 had spawned tensions between India and China, sparking off a months-long bitter standoff in Ladakh. However, the National Conference had on Tuesday denied accusations that Farooq Abdullah had justified Chinese action along the Line of Actual Control or suggested that the special status of Jammu and Kashmir could only be restored with Beijing’s help. Further, in an interview with The Wire in September, Farooq Abdullah had said Kashmiris do not feel like Indians and claimed that they would rather have the Chinese in the area. “Today, when China is advancing the other side, you know, many of them would rather have the Chinese coming in,” he had said.

During Thursday’s interview, Omar Abdullah also dismissed claims that the citizens of the Union Territory were angry with his family and the Muftis and said that the anger was not against them. “Show me a single piece of activity that these two entities have been able to do,” he said. “Mehbooba Mufti was in detention for 14 months, my father was in detention for months, I was in detention for nine months. There was enough time to create alternatives to us.”

When asked if he was angry at the central government, the Abdullah responded by asking if a person would come out happy after being detained. He added that he was locked up under the Public Safety Act and was considered a threat to his people. “Why don’t you ask those who locked us up?” he asked.

Omar Abdullah made the comments hours after the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party, People’s Conference and other regional groups formed an alliance following a meeting of six Jammu and Kashmir-based parties to discuss the Gupkar Declaration in Srinagar. The other parties include the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement and the Awami National Conference.

 “Ours is a constitutional battle…we would strive for [the] restoration of the constitution (with regard to Jammu and Kashmir) as it existed on August 5, 2019,” Farooq Abdullah told reporters after the coalition was formally declared.

Under the Gupkar Declaration, regional parties and the Congress resolved to protect Jammu and Kashmir’s special constitutional status and fight any move to dilute it. On August 22, the six parties had reaffirmed their commitment to the declaration and vowed to fight unitedly against the Centre’s decision to alter the region’s status under Article 370 of the Constitution.

Almost all of the Kashmir Valley’s political leadership, including Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, were detained last year. PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti was on Tuesday released from a 14-month-long detention under the Public Safety Act. Omar Abdullah was released on March 24 as the Jammu and Kashmir administration revoked his detention order under the Public Safety Act. Farooq Abdullah was released on March 13. People’s Conference chief Sajjad Lone was released in July.

Meanwhile,A day after political parties gave formal shape to their alliance formed after revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir on August 5 last year, senior National Conference leader and Member Parliament Justice (Retd) Hasnian Masoodi Friday said they would strive till Article 370 is restored reported KINS.

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Thursday convened an all party meeting at his residence which was attended by leaders of six political parties including Mehbooba Mufti. After which Farooq said, “ People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration aims to restore Jammu and Kashmir’s constitutional status as it existed before August 5 last year,” said Farooq Abdullah. “The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration favours initiation of dialogue between all stakeholders for resolution of the J&K issue,” he added.

On Friday National Conference leader Hasnian Masoodi said all parties are united for restoration of Article 370.

“We had a special status given by the constitution in 1947.  Those who revoked it did it illegally, unconstitutionally and are anti-people. New Delhi has also started realizing that the August 5 decision was wrong and did not serve any purpose,” he told.

The National Conference Member Parliament said they will strive till special status of Jammu and Kashmir is restored. “If there are domicile and land rights for people of North East then why our special position was snatched from us,” he asked.

The Gupkar Declaration is a resolution issued after an all-party meeting on August 4, 2019, at the Gupkar residence of the NC president. The resolution, passed a day before the Centre announced its decision to abrogate Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and split it into two Union territories, said the parties unanimously resolved they would stand united in their effort to protect and defend the identity, autonomy and special status of Jammu and Kashmir against all attacks and onslaughts.

The parties had met again in August this year and vowed to fight for restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

 While BJP National vice president Avinash Rai Khanna said Article 370 won’t be restored. He said that people of Jammu and Kashmir have nothing to do “with this so-called Gukar Declaration”.

“Political parties in Kashmir are trying to sell another false dream to the people which can never be possible. The Gupkar agenda has been coined in Kashmir in an attempt to hoodwink the people and for Farooq and company to save themselves,” Khanna told.

 “People know that when they were in power, they committed sins with impunity. The controversial Articles did nothing except digging an ocean of misunderstandings and retarding the growth and development of the erstwhile state,” he said.

Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir National Conference on Friday expressed dismay over the coercive tactics the government is employing to muzzle the media fraternity in Kashmir, terming the unannounced censorship in volition to the right to free speech and democracy.

Party’s Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar while renouncing the coercive tactics of the government to muzzle media from rendering its duties in a free and fair manner said that various coercive tactics were being employed by the administration from disabling them to do their duties freely.  “Earlier the JK administration came up with a new media policy which evoked wide condemnation from all quarters. The policy makes it easier for the government to go after reporters and publications that do not toe the state’s line. Now, the administration has stooped a new low by asking the media fraternity to vacate government accommodations. The measure should not be seen in isolation, it is the part of the larger pressure tactics to muzzle and curb free speech,” he said.

The treatment meted out to Kashmir Times Editor Anuradha Bhasin Jamwal and to a local news agency are two cases in point. “In both cases the due procedure of law has not been followed. Earlier also many correspondents working with various media houses were also told to vacate their government allotted accommodations. Media fraternity in Kashmir is already working in tough situations; the administration far from augmenting facilities available to media fraternity is dislodging them and subjecting them to undue tribulations. A free and fair media is symbolic of a democratic society. Unfortunately in this part of the world basic freedom and rights seem to have gone for a toss,” he added.

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