Demanding release of all mainstream political leaders in Kashmir including Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah, National Conference on Sunday appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“We condemn extending the detention of National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah under Public Safety Act by three months. We demand his release along with all other mainstream political leaders under detention in Kashmir,” National Conference provincial president Devender Singh Rana told media persons here.
Rana said that extending the PSA detention despite Dr Farooq’s immense contribution towards nation building and peace in Jammu and Kashmir was “sad and unfortunate.”
He recalled the observations of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as leader of the Indian delegation at the UN, describing Dr Abdullah as “a towering patriot.”
“Extension in the detention of Dr Farooq Abdullah is the biggest setback to democratic polity apart from undermining the contribution of a towering leader who stood tall in most turbulent situations,” Rana said.
“National Conference believes in democratic values. Its founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah rejected Two-Nation Theory of Muhammad Ali Jinnah and tied its destiny with secular and democratic India,” he said, describing Dr Farooq Abdullah as a nationalist leader.
“Dr Abdullah is the main torch-bearer of mainstream political leadership in Jammu and Kashmir and absence of political leaders has created a vacuum, which is neither in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir nor India,” Rana stated.
“Farooq Abdullah does not need certificate of nationalism from anyone. If he has been booked, we think that it is done with a motive to put an end to mainstream thought.”
‘START DIALOGUE PROCESS:’
Expressing concern over the absence of any political initiative, Rana appealed Prime Minister Narendra Modi to start political process in Jammu and Kashmir to strengthen democracy.
“People of different parts of Jammu and Kashmir have different aspirations. To meet their aspirations, the Government must start dialogue process and release all detained leaders in Kashmir,” he demanded.
‘SITUATION NOT NORMAL IN J&K:’
“Why did the Government detain three-time Chief Minister and former Union Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah if the situation is normal?” Rana said in response to a question.
He said that when former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was being detained in Kashmir, in his last tweet he had appealed for peace.
“If peace is in danger due to Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and National Conference, I think there is no one who can take forward peace process and democracy in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
On a question, he said, “On Articles 370 and 35A, NC has made its stand clear that after the release of the leadership we will call a Working Committee meeting under Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah and accordingly decide the future course of action.”
“On policy matters, Working Committee of National Conference will decide what needs to be done and no one is authorized to speak on party’s behalf,” he made it clear.
“We have learnt through newspapers that new leadership may be created in Jammu and Kashmir. Political leadership comes from among the people, hence dialogue process should start,” Rana suggested.