People’s Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said they will not participate in ‘power politics’ or take part in elections until Article 370 and 35A are restored in the Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir.

In an interview with India Today’s Rajdeep Sardesai, Mehbooba said: “I know restoration of Article 370 and 35A is not something the Centre will give on a platter but you have to begin somewhere. We will struggle for it. The Gupkar alliance will stay together till we achieve this.”

The former chief minister continued, “We want what was given to us by the Indian Constitution back. They have belittled the Indian Constitution by abrogating Article 370 for their own electoral benefits.

Mehbooba Mufti said that Article 370 and 35A, which granted the state of Jammu and Kashmir special status and were abrogated in 2019, are issues that matter to those who believe in the Indian Constitution. Hence, it is not a ‘separatist’ demand, she said.

She also emphasised that restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir and holding of elections were not her priorities in attending Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s meeting in New Delhi. Her main goal is for the Centre to initiate confidence-building measures in Occupied Kashmir so that living conditions improve for the people who are suffering.

Prime Minister Modi called an all-party meeting on the issue of Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir in New Delhi on Thursday. This was the first such outreach exercise from the Centre since August 2019 when it abrogated Article 370 and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two UTs.

FAROOQ, OMAR ABDULLAH: Meanwhile, former chief ministers and father and son Farooq and Omar Abdullah lambasted the Indian leadership for telling lies to the people of Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir for more than 70 years.

In their media talks after return from New Delhi they also demanded restoration of special status of the valley.

“Let me be frank about it. The first prime minister of India promised plebiscite and then went back on it. The then Prime Minister Narasimha Rao ji before the 1996 election promised us autonomy saying the sky is the limit but not the independence. He promised us on the floor of the House. Where is it? Frankly, there is a level of mistrust, and that mistrust has to be removed. How you remove it you have to take the call,” Dr Farooq said.

Omar added: “Nobody among the alliance partner (People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration) told the prime minister that we have accepted August 5 and so let us move on. We said people are angry. They are not happy with the decision. But we will not deceive people. We shouldn’t deceive people at the same time. We shouldn’t tell them that we will make Modi ji reverse the decisions of August 5, 2019. That will be deceiving people.

“Not only Mehbooba Mufti but Farooq Abdullah also said it took the BJP 70 years to fulfill its agenda of abrogation of Article 370, in the same way, if it takes us 70 weeks or 70 months, we will not retreat from our mission (of restoration of Article 370).”

He said even if Article 370 is pending before the Supreme Court they have the right to talk about it legally, politically, and constitutionally, and peacefully. “That is our right and we will exercise it,” Omar said.

Omar also said he has no mood to fight the elections.

He said so many issues are before the Supreme Court, but it doesn’t stop anyone talking about it.

“For the longest time Babri Masjid demolition was before the Supreme Court and it didn’t stop the BJP from pressing their agenda about the Ram Temple. Even if the matter (Article 370) is before the Supreme Court or it is sub-judice that doesn’t stop us from stating our point of view and we will continue to do that.”

The story was filed by the News Desk.
The Desk can be reached at info@thecorrespondent.com.pk.

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