BJP misled country over Article 370, will continue our fight for its restoration: Omar

Omar was addressing party leaders and workers at the Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan in Jammu, his first in more than a year.
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah (Photo | PTI)
National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah (Photo | PTI)

JAMMU: Asserting that the fight for restoration of Article 370 and Article 35A would be taken to a logical conclusion, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Friday accused the BJP of misleading the country over the constitutional safeguards to Jammu and Kashmir.

He also questioned the promised new phase of development in the erstwhile state after the abrogation of its special status and said "every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir is unhappy with the August 5, last year decision".

Omar was addressing party leaders and workers at the Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here, his first in more than a year.

The former chief minister also claimed that the decision had pushed the "people with separatist leaning" further away from the mainstream and also triggered a spike in the number of youths joining militancy.

"We are here to talk on your behalf and nobody will ask you to come on the roads. You have conveyed your resentment and we will be your voice as our fight is not for a particular party, region, religion or family. This fight is for our future and identity," he said.

"This is the fight of all of us and we know some will come in open and some will remain on our back but we will not backtrack and will emerge successful in this fight," Omar said amid thunderous applause by his workers.

The NC leader said if the identity and future of the people cannot be saved, nothing can be left behind.

Attacking the BJP for snatching the rights guaranteed under the Constitution to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar asked, "Where is the promised new phase of development and what happened to the notion that the separatism will finish and all the diseases will be cured."

"The people with anti-India ideology had not come close but had gone far away, while the youth whom we tried to bring back from the path of terrorism are joining militancy in large numbers. In 2011-14 (during NC-Congress rule headed by Omar), terrorism-related incidents were at lowest ebb and so the youth joining militancy. But today, the number of youth joining militancy is much more," he claimed.

Accusing the BJP of misleading the country over Article 370 before its abrogation, he said it was claimed that there is no development, employment and people are facing starvation while the separatists are outnumbering the nationalists.

"Unfortunately, we are in times of a fight between falsehood and truth. The people of J&K were promised of new phase of development and new land laws were introduced on the pretext of setting up industries," he said and challenged Lt Governor Manoj Sinha to prove that Article 370 was a hurdle.

"If you (Sinha) have time, go to Kathua (in Jammu region) and stop at Baribrahmana. Setting up of industries did not need removal of Article 370," he said.

Accusing the BJP of having different yardsticks in different states, he said the BJP-led Haryana government recently assured the people of the state that 75 per cent jobs there will be reserved for them and the same is the case in Himachal Pradesh and many other parts where no outsider can buy land.

"BJP has done this to J&K because it wanted to avenge the 2014 election results when it failed to achieve its goal of winning 45+ seats," he said and claimed that the BJP's propaganda machinery had no parallel in the world.

On Article 370, he said, "It was not Pakistan's constitution which had given us this safeguard. This was the basis of J&K accession with the Union of India and had it not been there, the structure would not have been there as well." 

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