Jammu: National Conference president and the former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday retorted to those branding him as a “traitor or anti-national” stating that they could test the veracity of their claims during elections provided the EVMs were not manipulated.
He also hinted at reversing the decision of “abandoning Darbar Move practice” and the process of providing “jobs to outsiders” by the J&K government in the banks and elsewhere at the expense of local youth.
“I feel pity on this government which dumped our youth and brought youth from Punjab and Haryana to serve in banks ignoring our educated, unemployed girls and boys. This is unacceptable to us. The day will come when they (outsider boys and girls) will have to leave J&K and our youth will be given their jobs,” Farooq said.
The National Conference president was addressing party leaders and workers during a day-long convention of the party’s central zone at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here in the winter capital. On this occasion, the party also adopted resolutions demanding restoration of Art 370 and 35 A; statehood to J&K; revocation of Darbar Move order, jobs to unemployed besides relief to farmers and check on inflation.
With reference to Darbar Move, he stated, “In a whimsical and autocratic move, they suddenly discontinued the practice of Darbar Move, which was initiated by Maharaja as a deliberate move to integrate three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. It was not an act of benevolence for either Jammu or Kashmir. But now only “Raja” would move --- come and go. They were not bothered about the citizens of J&K.”
“You never know when life’s sun sets in. Hence I aspire to live and see the blossoming of J&K yet again with its usual hustle-bustle and smiles on the faces of its people. I envision enjoying a stroll passing through ever-busy Raghunath Bazar which will again be abuzz with the activities. God willing, the day is not far off, when we will witness revival of Darbar Move and integration of all regions of J&K and its people viz., Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians, Buddhists living in harmony,” NC president stated.
Expressing optimism about restoration of special status under Article 370 to Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference president said the people were resolute enough and steadfast in their resolve to stand for their rights.
“We will fight for our rights peacefully as we don’t believe in violence,” he said.
“They dub us as “Desh-drohi” (traitor). In fact they, themselves, are anti-national as they are only bothered about power. They don’t mind exploiting people with the phrase “our religion is in danger.” Actually it’s not the religion but their power is in danger. They can come prepared to meet us in the election arena if they really believe in democracy and not the farce practice of manipulating Electronic Voting Machines. We’ll get back what we’ve lost through peaceful means as we don’t espouse the cause of violence. India belongs to all. It is not just the BJP’s nation,” Farooq took a veiled dig.
On Monday, senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, while accusing NC and PDP presidents of resorting to “politics of provocation”, had “suggested” Farooq to “leave India if he felt suffocated here.”
The remark was in response to the former Chief Minister’s statement a day before that the people of J&K “may have to make sacrifices like farmers” to win back its special status and statehood.
While hailing former Governor S P Malik for openly pleading the cause of farmers, Farooq criticised the Union Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh for stating in a conference at Delhi that no Kashmiri Pandit migrated to Jammu after recent spate of violence in the Valley. “They boast of tourism. I would see how many tourists come to the Valley if any of them falls prey to violence,” he warned.
Taking a dig at the claims of government strengthening democracy at the grassroot level, he quipped, “Surrounded by sycophants, they are befooling the people with a farce of elections. Just wait for the day when we storm to the power, we’ll show them what democracy is in reality and how it percolates down to the last man.”
“These people (sycophants) will disappear with power,” he mocked while citing the example of late Congress Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao, who was a lonely man during his twilight years.
He hit out at the bureaucracy stating that they were not willing to pick even the phone calls of people’s representatives or politicians. “Our own people are playing with the future of our children, our citizens,” he added.
He also found fault with the implementation of the much hyped Ayushman health card scheme. While citing examples, he urged the Prime Minister to look into its grey areas and take action against the institutions which were not honouring it in letter and spirit. “Don’t forget, this big hospital is the creation of National Conference, our Sher-e-Kashmir and none else,” he reminded while picking holes in the claims of creating health infrastructure.
The NC president referred to the repeal of three farm laws on the face of stiff resistance by the farmers together with 750 sacrifices and said the Centre was forced to announce rollback fearing poll debacle in five states. He said the farm laws were passed in huff, notwithstanding the demand for debate and discussion by the opposition ahead of their passage.
“Such was the arrogance of numbers that no plea of sending the farm bills to the select committee was heeded to. Ultimately the government had to bow down before the strong will of the farmers. Democracy is all about discussion and creating impediments in this process is against the democratic ethos of the country,” Farooq said.
Decrying the August 2019 political developments, he described revocation of special status to J&K as snatching of their rights. The people of this state acceded to Mahatma Gandhi’s India and not that of Nathuram Godse, he said adding that the hate and communal politics were not in the interest of the nation and the BJP should better realise it.
Farooq also questioned the type of democracy being practiced by the BJP and referred to the expulsion of 12 members from Rajya Sabha. He said the decision was prompted by the intention of seeking passage of bills as the numbers did not favour the government.
He also dwelt upon the prevailing political situation across the country and referred to extension of 50 kilometre jurisdiction to BSF in Punjab, saying this was reflection on the capability of the Punjab Police. Such decisions could have been averted he said and feared Nagaland like situation in the border neighbouring state.
The NC Chief also expressed concern over the state of affairs in Jammu and Kashmir, saying bureaucrats had become authority unto themselves, which subjected the people to miseries and difficulties. This fact was even acknowledged by the BJP leaders themselves, who were openly expressing concern.
He also dwelt upon the problems being faced by the farmers in Jammu and Kashmir especially in the wake of recent hailstorm and damages caused to the standing crops.
Prominent among those who addressed the zonal convention besides zonal president Babu Ram Pal, included additional general secretary Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, provincial president Rattan Lal Gupta, former minister Ajay Kumar Sadhotra, former MP Sharief-ud-Din Shariq, Mushtaq Bukhari, Mubarak Gul, Sheikh Bashir Ahmed, Brij Mohan Sharma and Surinder Singh Bunty.