My heart says Article 370 will be restored: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Monday said his party has mounted a legal challenge to the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 and he believed that the special status to Jammu and Kashmir will be restored.

Referring to the criticism of his party by other mainstream political parties in the Valley, Abdullah said the NC is not keeping people in the dark over the issue of Article 370.

“How are we keeping the people in the dark? We are only saying that we will peacefully fight for its restoration. We will fight for it under the ambit of the Constitution, and legally as well,” he said.

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The former J and K chief minister said such people wanted the party to vitiate the atmosphere “so that they get an excuse to target us more”.

He said NC has mounted a legal challenge to the Centre’s decision of August 5, 2019, when it ended the special status of J and K under Article 370 of the Constitution.

“But, we will not lose our calm, we will fight it the right way and God willing, and this is what my heart says, we will succeed in this fight,” Abdullah said, receiving thunderous applause from the party delegates.

He was addressing the party’s delegate session where his father, Farooq Abdullah, was re-elected unopposed as the NC president.

Telling his partymen that there was no need to worry, the NC vice president said, “We will not kneel or beg but seek the rights of the people of J-K”.

“We will not beg them for security or a bungalow, nor a vehicle or something else. We are only seeking the dignity of J-K, its prosperity, and its identity. God willing, the day is not far when we will succeed in this fight as well and then present ourselves before the people,” he added.

Abdullah said the NC as a political party has fought many political battles but “I am seeing this kind of a battle for the first time”.

He said it was one thing if the party’s fight was against the BJP or its B” or “C” teams only, but “the administration is also fighting us”.

“They are after us. They give trouble to our colleagues. There was a time when the decision to provide security was taken on the threat perception because of militancy. Today, the decision is taken on the threat perception for the BJP rather than that of the militants.

“The security is provided on seeing which party is a threat to the BJP. More the threat to the BJP, the lesser the security,” he said.

Abdullah said many of his senior leaders have been attacked a number of times but have lesser security now.

“But those who are close to the administration and to the BJP have far more security and vehicles because the BJP has no threat from them,” he said.

However, he added, “We are not the ones to be afraid”.

“Those who have God and the people with them, those who have firm intentions, good intentions, and those who do not keep the people in dark, they do not need to fear anything. God willing, we will take this state out of this tribulation,” he said.

Abdullah said if anyone wants to see the power of the NC, “then they should see this programme”.

“A sarkari jalsa’ is easy where vehicles, microphones, stage, food are provided by the government. Those raising slogans are also sarkari some of them village-level workers or something else. The government issues orders to its employees to attend the rally,” he said, apparently referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s rally in Baramulla in October.

“Today, no one here is a government employee, no government vehicle has been provided, no money has been given,” he said.

Referring to the recent public meeting of the Apni Party led by Altaf Bukhari, the former J-K chief minister said an event like this can be “arranged by spending money”.

“We have seen such rallies where crores of rupees were spent, but the gates were locked before the speech so that the people do not go away,” he said, without taking any names.

“Today’s meeting is proof of the love you have for the party. God is witness that the party has not provided a single penny for any vehicle. If the people came here, they came because of their love. Fortunate is the party which has dedicated workers like you who left everything else and reached here on their own expenses to make this (programme) a success.

“God should help us to come up to your expectations and take out J-K from this morass and make it a prosperous J-K — the dream of which we all see,” he said.

Quipping over his father’s energy levels, Abdullah said “he (Farooq) is elder to me, he is my father. But, sometimes, I think I am older than him”.

“He (Farooq) exerts more than me and I can tell you that today’s programme has lent glucose (energy) of three years to him,” the NC vice president said.

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