Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah today 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”, Mr Abdullah told Legislative Assembly in Jammu today.
Mr Abdullah, speaking on the motion of Thanks on the Governor’s address, referred to the government speech on the issue of special status of Jammu and Kashmir 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 were 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,” Mr Abdullah said.
Daring the Mufti Sayeed government to take a cabinet decision and revoke AFSPA in the state, Mr Abdullah said, “If (the erstwhile) Farooq Abdullah 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 Chief Minister). 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 is enough to do it,” Mr Abdullah 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 doing?” Mr Abdullah asked.