Former Chief Minister and National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday said the party stood by its position on Article 370 and restoration of statehood in Jammu and Kashmir while reaffirming that there was no compromise on such issues in the party ranks.”
“There is absolutely no compromise. I don’t see anything like that and wonder who created all this talk about compromise,” Dr Abdullah told the Greater Kashmir.
Responding to a question that after his meeting with senior NC leaders recently, his statements had become more strident and whether the hardening of position was a result of a larger thought process or a fringe view in the party, Dr Abdullah said: “There is no fringe view in the party.
There is absolute consensus on everything.”
When asked whether the Jammu-based leaders of NC were consulted on the Gupkar Declaration and if they are on the same page as the leaders in the Valley, Dr Abdullah said: “They (Jammu leadership) were part of the meeting and have approved the Gupkar Declaration. The Political Affairs Committee meeting was held recently in which our leaders from not just Jammu but even Kargil participated and discussed a wide range of issues,” the NC president said.
Expressing concern over “growing cases of intolerance”, Dr Abdullah said “it was unfortunate that efforts were being made to segregate people in J&K on the basis of religion and caste.”
“We worry that they are trying to divide people on the basis of religion, community and sect,” Dr Abdullah said. He said the NC leadership was “dejected after August 5 last year and its fallout in Jammu and Kashmir.”
“They (NC leaders) are disappointed obviously with things that are happening. How can they not be disappointed. They are human beings,” Dr Abdullah said.
Abdullah, who was released from detention in March has held several meetings, first at his Gupkar residence with NC leaders and later chaired the Political Advisory Committee meeting of the National Conference at the party headquarters after over a year’s time.
Earlier on August 5 this year, an all-party meeting called by the NC president had been disallowed by the authorities. However, six political parties including National Conference recently passed a resolution, stating that they all stood by the Gupkar Declaration issued by these parties on August 4 last year, just a day before the Government of India scrapped special Constitutional status of Jammu and Kashmir.
In an interview with this newspaper on August 24, Dr Abdullah had said that the mainstream parties who were a part of the Gupkar Declaration had decided to run a campaign in Jammu and Ladakh “to make people aware about what we have lost in the form of special status.”
“It is not just a question of Kashmiri Muslims but this whole state. Also a question of Ladakhi Buddhists and people of Kargil, the Dogras and people of Jammu who have been most hard hit today. It is they who are more in danger than you and me here. They are going to lose everything and they have realised where they are heading,” Dr Abdullah had said.
“I don’t understand who was asking for trifurcation. It is not a question of three separate states as it is one state. Union Territories are converted into states but these people ruling in Delhi thought by converting this great state into a UT they will win a huge battle but they have lost the battle,” the NC president had said.
Dr Abdullah said the fall-out of scrapping of special status “was not an individual problem but that of every resident of Jammu and Kashmir.” “The pain is there but one starts thinking what is the way forward and that way should not be the one which is destructive. Being united we will find a way forward. It should be the one where honour of people is restored without causing death and pain and rest is up to God,” Dr Abdullah said.