‘Assault on Article 35A is an assault on our soul and identity’
Srinagar: National Conference President and Member of Parliament Dr Farooq Abdullah said on Friday that if the Government of India (GOI) or the National Investigation Agency (NIA) thinks that Kashmiris will bow before the continuous “oppression” perpetrated against them, they should know that Kashmiris will not “trade away their principles”.
“If the (NIA) raids are just to annoy the people and make them bow, I want to tell the NIA and GOI that even if they unleash colossal oppression here, the people will not trade away their principles,” Abdullah said on the sidelines of an event organised to commemorate the 35th death anniversary of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at his Naseem Bagh mausoleum.
Abdullah further said, “I will believe in NIA raids only when something comes out of this exercise.”
The NIA has been conducting raids in Kashmir for the past several months, during which it has arrested Hurriyat leaders and top businessmen from Kashmir.
Abdullah said he attaches no hopes to the upcoming visit of union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to Kashmir.
“I have no expectation from it at all,” Abdullah said while responding to a question. “Like he has done before, he will come and meet people. You should know he was the head of a delegation comprising of parliamentarians who visited Kashmir. What happened to that delegation and their recommendations? Nothing happened. I expect nothing to happen now as well.”
In response to another question for his reaction to the fact that stakeholders in the Kashmir issue, including businessmen, were behind bars, Abdullah said that all those people should be released.
“It is important that those people should be released, so that they can tell the home minister what is in their hearts,” he said.
On the genocide being carried against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, Abdullah said the UN Human Rights Commission should take up the issue.
“You can’t murder people because they belong to a particular faith. It is the murder of democracy that innocent people are being killed there. The Nobel (Prize) holder, Aung San Suu Kyi, should work hard to save these people,” he said.
During the commemorative function and congregational Fateha Khwani at the grave of NC founder Sheikh Abdullah, party leaders, functionaries, legislators and workers paid tributes to the deceased leader.
Apart from Abdullah, his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah and NC general secretary Ali Mohamamd Sagar were present on the occasion.
While addressing the gathering at the mausoleum of Sheikh Abdullah, the NC president said that the assault on the state’s special status was a challenge that should unite everyone.
“The assault on Article 35A is an assault on our soul and our identity. We should all unite to defend our honour. The powers-that-be are using myths and distortions to support their long-cherished goal of weakening J&K from within, but in the end the truth always prevails,” Abdullah said.
He further claimed that the NC’s awareness campaign on Article 35 A was getting an overwhelming response in Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh regions.
NC working president Omar Abdullah paid glowing tributes to Sheikh Abdullah. “Sher-e-Kashmir spent his life struggling for all of us and for our political aspirations and rights. Today, as we commemorate his 35th death anniversary, we are confronted with a new assault on the state’s special status, both from within the state and from outside the state,” he said.