Srinagar, June 26: It is foolish to demand the restoration of Article 370 of the Constitution from the Modi government, said former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Vice President of the National Conference Omar Abdullah.
“It took the BJP 70 years to fulfil its political agenda for (Article) 370. Our struggle has just started. We don’t want to fool people by telling them we will get 370 back in these talks. It will be foolish to expect 370 will be back — there has been no indication it will be restored by the current government”, Abdullah told The Indian Express.
This statement came a day after the prime minister’s meeting with 14 senior leaders from Jammu and Kashmir. In the meeting that lasted for more than three hours on Thursday, 24 June, Omar Abdullah was one of the five persons who could not speak, the other four being Nirmal Singh, Tara Chand, Ghulam A Mir, and Ravinder Raina.
When the daily asked Abdullah if the National Conference had given up on its demand for restoration of Article 370, the former CM responded by saying that not talking about the abrogation at Thursday’s meeting did not mean the National Conference had abandoned its fight. “We will do it legally, peacefully, and constitutionally. We are fighting tactically… it is being fought in the Supreme Court where we stand a maximum chance,” he said.
Abdullah added that the PM was told about their opposition to what was done on 5 August 2019, when the decision to revoke J&K’s special status and bifurcate it into two Union territories was announced in Parliament.
“… We also told the PM that there’s been breach of trust between the state and the Centre. It’s Centre’s duty to restore it,” he was quoted as saying by ANI.
The Delimitation Process
The meeting was touted as the first such exercise to be held between the Centre and Kashmir’s mainstream political leaders since the revocation of J&K’s statehood in 2019.
The bifurcation of the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union territories alongside the effective revocation of Article 370 had set the ball rolling for a delimitation exercise to be carried out in the region, a matter that was raised at the meeting on Thursday.
(With inputs from The Indian Express and ANI)