Former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, who walked out of detention this march after spending 8 months in preventive detention, said that he would not contest assembly election as long as J&K continued as Union territory.
He further said that the Parliament spent even less than a day to change 70 years of history and to reverse the commitments made by the Indian government to the people of J&K.
“After the re-election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, rumours started to float about the intentions of the BJP to use its absolute majority in the Lok Sabha to implement its poll promise of abrogating Article 370 and Article 35A of the Constitution. Fears reached a fever pitch when plane loads of central para-military forces where flown into Srinagar and dispatched all over the state,” stated Jammu and Kashmir NC president Omar Abdullah.
He asserted that the people of J&K never accept the division of the state and shall always oppose this decision because it trampled the democratic right as well as constitutional rights and dozens of political leaders were placed under illegal house arrest from the past one year.
“J&K’s special status, an important, perhaps even indispensable, part of the state’s accession to the Union, was revoked. With it, went the framework that determined who a bonafide resident of J&K was. Truth be told, the BJP pushing this wasn’t a complete surprise — it was part of its poll agenda for decades. What came as a shock was the humiliation heaped on the state by downgrading it and splitting it into two Union Territories. Over the last seven decades, Union Territories have been upgraded to states but this was the first time a state was downgraded to a Union Territory,” stated NC Chief Omar Abdullah.
During Abdullah’s opinion piece to the Indian Express, he said that he is unable to understand the centre’s move, except to punish and humiliate the people of the state. He further pointed out that if the government has decided to make Ladakh a UT following the demand of Buddhist community then why years-long demand for making Jammu and Kashmir a state is not considered.
He further stated, “If the demand was conceded on religious grounds, then it ignored the fact that Leh and Kargil districts, which together make up the Union Territory of Ladakh, are Muslim majority and the people of Kargil are vehemently opposed to the idea of being separated from J&K.”
He said that many reasons were given to justify the complete dilution of Article 370 when it was being rammed through Parliament, none stands the test of basic scrutiny. “It was alleged that Article 370 has fuelled separatism and allowed militant violence to thrive in Kashmir, an end was supposed to herald the end of terrorism. If that be the case, then why is it that almost a year later the same Union government is forced to tell the Supreme Court that violence in J&K is increasing?” added NC Chief.
He has also claimed that Artile 370 has kept the people of Jammu and Kashmir in poverty.
He also cited the top court’s 2018 judgment that Article 370 “had acquired a permanent status by virtue of its years of existence making its abrogation impossible”. Abdullah also claimed that other than the political justification of an election promise being fulfilled, there is no constitutional, legal, economic, or security justification for what was done to J&K on August 5, 2019.
“We, in the J&K National Conference, do not agree with what has been done to J&K nor do we accept what has been done. We shall oppose this, our opposition will continue in the highest court in the land in the form of the legal challenge filed in the Supreme Court last year,” stated former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah.
He also mentioned that dozens if mainstream politicians were either under preventive arrest or are under house arrest. Many more are still under detention. He also stated that the UT had lost thousands of workers and office-bearers to militant violence in past many years.
“As for me, I am very clear that while J&K remains a Union Territory I will not be contesting any Assembly elections. Having been a member of the most empowered Assembly in the land and that, too, as the leader of that Assembly for six years, I simply cannot and will not be a member of a House that has been disempowered the way ours has,” said National Conference President Omar Abdullah.
This news has been written and submitted by Mr. Sourav during his course of internship at B&B Associates LLP. Mr. Sourav is a third-year law student at the Hidayatullah National Law University, Raipur.