In an op-ed written for The Indian Express on Monday, former J & K chief minister Omar Abdullah broke his silence and declared that his party, which challenged the Union Government’s decision last year in the Supreme Court, would continue to oppose the ‘historic move’ on August 5, 2019 by the Modi Government to humiliate the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
He also declared that he would not contest any election until J & K remains a Union Territory along with Ladakh.
Without mincing words, the former chief minister voiced his shock at both the then J & K Governor Satpal Malik and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who he had met 72 hours before August 5, not taking him into confidence and giving him a completely different picture, claiming that additional troops were being sent to Srinagar for the impending Assembly election.
In a point-wise rebuttal of the justification given by Union Home Minister Amit Shah for revoking the special status of Jammu & Kashmir, the former chief minister points out that none of them stands even basic scrutiny a year later.
1. It was said that Article 370 had fuelled militancy. But a year later the Union Government admits that violence in J & K has increased?
2. Article 370, it was alleged, had kept people of J & K in poverty. But a year later there has been no change in the lot of the people.
3. Article 370 was alleged to have come in the way of investment in the state. But it is the security environment and militarization which have prevented any investment during the last one year.
4. It was claimed that J & K was backward because of Article 370. But in several Human Development indices the state had performed better than the ‘developed’ state of Gujarat.
The former CM also questioned the creation of two Union Territories, pointing out that this was the first time a state had been downgraded into UTs.
J & K, he writes, kept its side of the bargain while acceding to India. But it was the Union of India which let it down. Reiterating his party’s faith in democracy and the judiciary, he says that he would continue to oppose revocation of Article 370 in the Supreme Court and in other non-violent ways to seek the release of political leaders in J & K, who continue to be in illegal detention.
“We in the National Conference do not agree with what has been done to J & K; nor do we accept what has been done,” he affirms in the op-ed.