Other States

Omar rues Azad’s silence over Article 370

As senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad limits his demand to restoration of statehood and not special status for J&K, National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Monday said it was unfortunate to see silence of the parties that were expected to raise their voices for the restoration of Article 370.

“We were expecting support from other political parties (on restoration of J&K’s pre-August 5 position and special status) but they are silent. Unfortunate to see Mr. Azad saying it’s useless to talk about Article 370. If the special status of J&K was so hollow, why was it snatched,” the former chief minister said at a public speech in the Chenab Valley's Kishtwar district.

He termed the restoration of Article 370 as an issue linked to the future generations of Kashmir. “It was unfortunate to see senior leader Mr. Azad stating that it was useless to talk about Article 370 as it has gone forever.”

Mr. Abdullah said Article 370 was extended to J&K during the rule of Congress Prime Minister Pandit Jawharlal Nehru. “Article 370 is the Congress’ legacy. You (Azad) are announcing a verdict when we have a strong case before the SC,” Mr. Abdullah said.

Referring to the Congress' silence over J&K's special status, he said the NC will fight for the special status along with the people of J&K.

Mr Azad, also a former chief minister, is travelling across J&K and has pushed the agenda of restoration of statehood. His statement came at a time when BJP general secretary Ashok Kaul said that the restoration of statehood was on the cards.

“It will be restored soon. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have already assured that after the situation gets normal in J&K statehood would be restored. I believe that the days are coming near...,” Mr. Kaul said, during a district executive meeting of the party in south Kashmir’s Anantnag earlier this month.

Stressing on the need for restoration of statehood and elections, Mr Azad has repeatedly asked the Centre to announce elections in “the State of J&K by next year”.

He also described the downgrading of erstwhile State of J&K as two Union Territories as an exercise that saw “a DGP turning into a thanedaar, a chief minister into just an MLA and a chief secretary into a patwari.”

“The State of J&K, as it existed before August 5, 2019, is our identity,” Mr. Azad said. “There is no fight on statehood whether it’s Hindus from Jammu, Sikhs, Muslims from Kashmir or Pandits. No one should presume that only Kashmiris want statehood,” he added.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2022 11:41:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/omar-rues-azads-silence-over-article-370/article37753432.ece

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