Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah warns in an exclusive interview with The Hindu
A Narendra Modi-led government could “end up severing Jammu and Kashmir from the rest of the country,” Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah warned in an exclusive interview with The Hindu.
Pointing to Mr. Modi’s promise to review Article 370 of the Constitution, Mr. Abdullah argued that repealing the provision “means that the constitutional bridge between Jammu and Kashmir and the Indian Union will be destroyed.”
Mr. Abdullah pointed to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s promise to grant Union Territory status to the Buddhist-majority province of Ladakh, saying “dismembering Jammu and Kashmir will have awful consequences, both for communal peace in the State and for its wider relationship with India.” “I don’t think enough Indians understand just how dangerous this situation is,” Mr. Abdullah observed.
Mr. Abdullah’s increasingly vocal opposition to Mr. Modi could help him shore up the party’s eroding constituency in a State where politicians who have opposed the Central government have often done well.
The National Democratic Alliance government led by Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had dropped references to Article 370 from the basic programme of the coalition, though it figured in the party’s own election manifesto. Mr. Abdullah defended his party’s participation in Mr. Vajpayee’s government, saying “Mr. Modi and Mr. Vajpayee are cut from very different cloth. There is just no comparison. Mr. Modi makes it a habit to trade on half truths and outright lies — he actually blamed my father and grandfather for the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits, when the well-documented historical truth is that the National Conference was being butchered, along with Pandits, by terrorists.” Mr. Vajpayee’s relationship with the National Conference deteriorated slowly from 2002 over the NDA government’s backing of the then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohd Sayeed, who ruled the State from November 2002 to November 2005.