Return of Special Status Single Most Important Issue: Omar

Omar Abdullah with father Dr Farooq seen here outside the residence of Mehbooba Mufti- KO Photo

Srinagar: Hours after Jammu and Kashmir mainstream parties formed an alliance to fight for restoration of special status, former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) Vice-President Omar Abdullah said that he will not go to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a begging bowl as no government lasts forever.

In an interview with a New Delhi based news channel, Omar said that the newly formed People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration will continue to fight for the restoration of special status of Jammu and Kashmir, abrogated by Modi-government on August 5, 2019.

“We’re not begging the government of India. Our fight is in the Supreme Court. I’m not going to go to PM Modi with a begging bowl. No government lasts forever. We will wait. We will keep the pot boiling. We will not give up,” Omar told India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai.

When asked if the alliance was opportunist or political, Omar said it was a continuation of what started on August 4, 2019 when most parties met at Farooq Abdullah’s residence and vowed to fight for Article 370.

“No it is not an opportunistic alliance. We are political parties so you could hardly term this as a social alliance,” he said.

He said that restoration of special status was a single most important issue in front of the people of Jammu and Kashmir today. He said that the politics of the Valley can’t be divorced from the issue of special status.

“Whether you oppose what BJP did or you support it, it is still an issue in Kashmir, Jammu or for that matter in Kargil and Leh as well. So, this is part of political process, and it is going to be an important component of politics in both these regions,” he said.

“At the moment, we are committed to the Gupkar declaration which is why

We are coming together to reemphasize that we are committed to fighting, using all constitutional and peaceful means for the restoration of what was snatched from us legally and unconstitutionally on the August 5, 2019 in the parliament of India,”

The NC leader also denied that his father has said that Article 370 will be restored with China’s help. He said that Farooq’s words were being twisted by the BJP spokesperson to suit their agenda.

“He (Farooq) said China has been commenting on J&K’s internal affairs. He said China has taken a position on the renovation of Article 370 and 35A. Those are both facts. China has done that, whether we like it or not,” he said.

Omar also rubbished 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.

“All he did was to reflect what some of the people on the ground are saying. All he was trying to give voice to the anger that was on the streets of the Valley with regard to what happened last year on 5th of August. There is a lot of anger, there’s a lot of bitterness and resentment about what happened,” Omar said.

He also cited his example saying that he faced a backlash over his Twitter post in which he had said that looking towards China was not in the interest of the people of Kashmir.

“He is not advocating a role of China in Jammu and Kashmir. He is telling you what people are saying here,” the former Chief Minister said.

He 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.

“This anger is not against Muftis and Abdullahs because if it was, why aren’t they quite happily adopting BJP, or the BJP’s king’s party that has been formed here. Show me a single piece of political activity that these two entities have been able to do,” he said.

“Mehbooba Mufti came out after 14 months of detention, my father was in detention for months, I was in detention for nine months. There was more than enough time to create alternatives to us,” he added.

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’s hard hitting comments came barely hours after his party 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.

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