National Conference leader Omar Abdullah Thursday that his party will ensure protection of Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution and will not allow the NIA to intimidate Kashmiri youth.
He rebuffed the allegations of speaking on lines with Hurriyat. “On the contrary, it’s BJP which is saying one thing in Delhi and second in Srinagar. In Delhi they impede elections to Assembly when in Srinagar Ram Madhav pitches for elections. If they aren’t able to conduct elections, then they should make it public that they have destroyed the situation to an extent that Assembly elections cannot be conducted.”
He said the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections are significant as it will decide the future course of action on the Articles.
“The very special character of our state is facing overt as well as covert threats. These elections provide us with a good opportunity to send resourceful and capable people to country’s highest house who can forcefully work for preserving state’s special status,” Abdullah said addressing an election rally in the Lolab area of Kupwara district in north Kashmir.
While Article 370 guarantees special status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A empowers the state assembly to define ‘permanent residents’ for bestowing special rights and privileges to them. Abdullah said the NC will ensure protection of the special status of the state within and outside the courts.
The former chief minister appealed to the people not to allow forces inimical to Jammu and Kashmir’s special status to make inroads into the state.
“Such forces and their cronies should not be allowed to fiddle with our identity. And now it is up to the people to show them their right place,” he said.
Referring to the alleged intimidation of the Kashmiri people, Abdullah said today thousands of youths are fighting cases that have been slapped on them since 2016.
“(PDP president) Mehbooba Mufti is shedding crocodile tears, (but) thousands of our youth are languishing in jails. It was she who brought the NIA to Kashmir, who unleashed torments on people. In my tenure, the NIA was only used once, that too to save the life of Liyaqat, a local,” he said.
Under the then announced rehabilitation policy for militants, Liyaqat was on his way to return home via Nepal with his family from Pakistan. However, he was arrested on Indo-Nepal border.
“The authorities were mulling to send him to Tihar jail. His family members called upon me. I discussed the case with the then home minister and requested him to employ an organisation that was not politically used against people.
“Eventually in a matter of two months, Liyaqat was released and reunited with his family. Once in power, we will review the cases on youth. We will ensure that undue intimidation of our youth is not done by the NIA. We will also put an end to the PSA,” the NC vice president said.
Liyaqat was part of the crowd listening to the address of Abdullah, a spokesman of the party claimed.