Jammu: Former Chief Minister and NC leader Omar Abdullah on Thursday asserted that Article 370 of the Constitution cannot be scrapped and the special status accorded to Jammu and Kashmir cannot be eroded further.
“The special status (of Jammu and Kashmir), which has been eroded (in the past), cannot be further eroded. You (BJP and PDP) cannot scrap Article 370 from the state of Jammu and Kashmir”, Omar told Legislative Assembly in Jammu on Thursday.
Omar, speaking on the motion of Thanks on the Governor’s address, referred to the government speech on the issue of special status of J&K and said, “As if you have got some gift from BJP by their silence on Article 370. It is not accepted to us. It (silence of Article 370) is their compulsion.”
“But silence on Article 370 is what? Even the then Prime Minister Atal Ji was silent on it. Even if you had not been in alliance with them, still they had to be silent on Article 370. They (BJP) cannot scrap article 370,” Omar said.
Daring the Mufti Sayeed government to take a cabinet decision and revoke AFSPA in the state, Omar said, “If (the erstwhile) Farooq Abduallah government took a cabinet decision, forward it to the Governor who approved it and AFSPA was implemented. You have numbers and support of BJP to reverse the process and start removing AFSPA from some areas.”
“I had tried a lot on revocation of AFSPA and thought that it will be started during my term (as CM). But it did not materialised. I feel sorry that I couldn’t do it. But what did you bring from the Centre in the Agenda for Common Alliance?” he asked.
“The powers which you and your cabinet have are enough to do it,” Omar said, referring to the Governor’s address, which mention “We endeavour the central government to take a final view on AFSPA in some area“.
“Why central government, while you are in power? You have the right to take a final view. If you have really taken the concession from BJP, which I could not get from my coalition partner then, you should approve it in cabinet and send it to government to lift it. Do it... because BJP is with you now,” he said.
“But what is need of bringing in Delhi? The thing which I could not do, you should do it. Why did you bring in Delhi? It will give suspicious signals? It is undermining the institution of Chief Minister. Remember you (PDP) always targeted me for what you alleged weakening the institution of Chief Minister. Now what are you doing?” Omar asked.
Taking a dig at the mention of talks with all stakeholders including Pakistan in the Common Minimum Programme (CMP) agreed between PDP and BJP, He said, “As per the resolution of Parliament, J&K was and is Part of India and the areas illegally occupied by Pakistan will be brought back. What dialogue will you do?”
“Is this the dialogue that Hurriyat Conference would be ready to talk? Is this the dialogue that Pakistan is ready to talk? What language, you are using in CMP to befool people?” he charged.
“On the issue of West Pakistan refugees, we want to seek answers from you,” he said, “Are you proposing to give them government jobs? If it is so, then it means you want to make them state subjects? We want to hear it from you in your reply.”
“What other issues they have that you want to resolve?” he asked and added “they have only issue that is state subject rights“.
On the issues of delimitation of Assembly seats to give Jammu region more seats under it, Omar referred to the Governor’s address and said, “When you say as required by law, the matter is finished. It is closed till 2026. It is a face saving for BJP so that they will go to their constituencies and say we will have delimitation.”