“Oh ya absolutely”, Omar responded firmly when asked if he accepted that J&K was “permanently, fully an integrated part of India”.
Omar also said no Prime Minister can revoke Article 370 of the Indian Constitution granting special status to the state “without calling into question” its accession to India.
Dismissing a question on whether he was worried at the prospect of BJP’s Narendra Modi becoming the Prime Minister, Omar said, “it does not matter whether he is the Prime Minister or the President or (holds) any other position.
“Constitutionally, he cannot revoke Article 370 without calling into question the accession of J&K to India. Now as Prime Minister of India, if he wants to rewrite accession to India, he is welcome to it. But I do not think any Prime Minister would be as foolhardy as that,” he said.
Omar was answering questions in BBC’s ‘Hard Talk’ programme during which he more then held his ground in the face of tough questioning by its well-known anchor Stephen Sackur who focused on the insurgency, role of the armed forces and the State’s accession to India.
Sackur remarked that he would be “extraordinarily worried” because Modi could be the next Prime Minister if opinion polls were to be believed because the BJP leader favours doing away with J&K’s special status. “I am not worried,” Omar told him.
“Oh ya absolutely”, he responded firmly when asked if he accepted that J&K was “permanently, fully an integrated part of India”.
It was a different matter that he had complaints, he said, adding, “I believe that the terms under which J&K acceded to India, the amount of power we ceded to the Centre, that is something that is open for discussion but not the accession as it took place”.
The Chief Minister was asked about Modi’s suggestion for a debate on Article 370 to which he had responded by offering to do that debate with the BJP leader “at any time, any place”.
He said Modi had not responded to this himself but “one of his minions gave a statement that he is too busy to discuss Article 370 and, to make it worse, he is far too more important to discuss it with somebody like you (Omar)”.