Other States, UTs Have Laws To Protect Their Land, Why Not J&K: Omar

Srinagar: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday accused BJP-led government at the Centre of pushing to the brink the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir who have formed an alliance to fight for special status.

“What do the Delhiwallas (Centre) want? Do they want us to leave the mainstream? We are battling to save our identity and land,” he said, while, addressing a function at the National Conference headquarters here.

Asserting that it was not a crime to seek constitutional rights through peaceful and democratic means, he said, “Today, there was a peaceful protest against the new (amended) land laws (by PDP) but it was not allowed. Are we wrong in seeking our right within the Constitution and peacefully?”

Omar said last year after the Lok Sabha elections, political parties had expected that assembly elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir.

“But today we are fighting for our identity. Shame on those of us who are still hankering after power. It is no more about power,” he said.

About the formation of the People’s Alliance, he said the Centre has been using “all kinds of tricks” to “weaken and divide us”.

“I wish we had forged an alliance earlier. Maybe we could have avoided the situation (revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir),” he said, adding “Whatever we are facing today is because of that weakened voice. We were divided and they implemented their plan, our voice got weakened and they attempted to erase our identity”.

He further said those making “tall claims about merging Jammu and Kashmir with India are still indulging in step-motherly treatment with us”, saying the land amendments done earlier this week were an apt example for that.

The former Chief Minister also said that many states especially in the northeast have special laws relating to land ownership whereby people from other parts of the country cannot buy land there, and questioned why the Jammu and Kashmir could not have similar laws.

About the repealing of land law, Omar said that “nobody can buy land in Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh and many other States of the country, but here in Jammu and Kashmir, the rich section has been given open land to throw people of J&K out. Amid this situation, they are expecting silence from us, which is not possible. We will fight and are not ready to lose it. I don’t know how long this fight will continue, but will fight it tooth and nail.

He said that whatever has been snatched from J&K people, was mentioned in the constitution, adding that it was the Maharaja Hari Singh, who granted special status to Jammu and Kashmir and the government has demolished the constitution and those who are fighting constitutional rights are being tagged as anti-nationals.

“In Nagaland, leaders have clearly rejected Indian constitution, flag and sovereignty, but despite this, talks are being held with them. But, when people in Jammu and Kashmir are raising voice for their identity, land and other rights, you are tagging them as anti-nationals,” he added.

“Why is it only us who become anti-national when we talk of these laws? Why are there no media debates when similar voices (for special provisions) are raised from other states?” he asked.

“We are being tagged as anti-national for fighting for our rights. I must recall the role played by Maqbool Sherwani, who under this (NC) flag played a pivotal role in 1947,” he said.

He further said the “fight” is for protecting “our identity” for “our tomorrow”.

“Delhi left no stone unturned to weaken and divide the mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. We (mainstream parties) remain busy in opposing each other till last year. As our voices got weaker, the government succeeded in their plans and snatched our identity. We have joined our hands now. But, I wish this alliance among the mainstream parties would have been forged a couple for years back,” he added. “Had this alliance take place a few years back, the situation could have been different,” Omar said.

He said that the central government’s decision last year has forced mainstream parties to join hands. “Today, I am not counting seats as this fight is not for the power. (lanat hai hum par agar in haalat mein aaj bhi hum kursi ke liye lad rahe hai’ (Shame on those who fight for petty power amid ongoing tumultuous situation).” He said people will never forget the leaders if they keep eyeing on the secretariat and the power.

The Centre had on Tuesday cleared the decks for people from across the country to buy land in Jammu and Kashmir by amending several laws, a move which mainstream political parties in the union territory said was akin to putting the erstwhile state up “for sale”.

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