Srinagar, Jun 26: Asserting that it would be foolish to expect that the current BJP regime at the Centre would return Article 370, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah on Saturday said they didn’t say anything during the All Party Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that was outside the agenda of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).
Mr Abdullah asserted that they have made it clear during the meeting that they will not stop fighting for the restoration of Article 370 even if took many years. “The PAGD members didn’t say during the meeting that we agree with the decision on August 5,2019. We told the PM that people are not happy with this decision and they want the special status back. But, we don’t want to betray people by saying that we will get August 5 decision reversed by PM Modi. It would be foolish to expect that the people who took away the special status of J&K will return it,” Mr Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar after returning on Saturday from New Delhi, where he took part in the APM on Thursday. However, he did not get chance to speak during the meeting, where his father Dr Farooq spoke.
Mr Abdullah said NC has authorised its President and Member of Parliament (MP) from Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah to take final call on delimitation process. However, he said there was no fresh approach to the NC from the Delimitation Commission.
“We were not called there (at PM Modi’s APM) as an alliance. Had that been the case, only one person from the alliance would have been invited. Three members of the PAGD alliance – NC, PDP and CPI(M) – attended the PM’s meeting. But, we did not say anything at the meet that is outside PAGD agenda,” he said.
“We told them (PM and HM) that as far as the decision taken on August 5, 2019 is concerned, we don’t stand with it. We are not ready to accept it. But, we won’t take the law into our hands… we will fight it in court this recourse has been guaranteed to every citizen of this country by the Constitution of India. I’m hopeful that the court will give us justice,” he said.
Answering a question, Mr Abdullah asserted that not just Mehbooba Mufti (PDP president and vice chairperson of PAGD), Dr Farooq has also said it took 70 years for BJP to succeed in their agenda of abrogation of Article 370. “So, we won’t back off from our mission, even if it takes us 70 weeks or 70 months or more time,” he added.
He said as far as Delimitation Commission is concerned, NC has already made it clear that it has authorised Dr Farooq to take a view as and when necessary. “Though there has been no fresh approach by the Delimitation Commission to NC. As and when the Delimitation commission approaches NC, Dr Farooq has been authorised to take a view,” he said.
Mr Abdullah, however, refused to comment on what NC decision would be when it will be approached by the commission.
Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of 14 leaders from eight political parties in J&K on Thursday to discuss the future course of action for the Union Territory. This was the first such initiative by the Centre since the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of J&K on August 5, 2019.
The Centre had invited four former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Mehbooba Mufti, besides four Deputy Chief Ministers – Muzafar Hussain Beigh, Tara Chand, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta. Leaders of six other political parties — Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami of CPI(M), Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari of Apni Party, Prof Bhim Singh of Panthers Party, Ravinder Raina of BJP and G A Mir of Congress – were also invited at the meeting.