Bandipora: Former J&K chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Monday promised to abrogate the draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) “within days” if his party comes to power in the state.
“In our tenure from 2009-14, we attempted to bring some relaxation in PSA Act. We had removed the toughest parts from it but still it is being highly misused,” he said while addressing a public gathering in north Kashmir’s Bandipora.
“Even today, so many youths, our elders, are struggling in prisons. I had tried to ensure that this Act is not misused but my attempts didn’t materialise completely. Now, this time, we have decided not to relax the law but remove it completely from the books of law,” announced Omar amid applause by people.
He said this was a “promise” he will implement, unlike the PDP “which presented the (police) task force with another name but they and their work remained the same.”
“Take this in writing from me: if National conference is given a mandate, within days the Public Safety Act will go forever,” Omar said.
Omar also said that his party will force the centre to restore the various privileges and protections given to Kashmir’s special identity which were eroded over years.
“This is not a simple election. We are being attacked from so many directions. There are so many powers involved in wiping out the special identity of Kashmir. Even Amit Shah in a recent TV Interview said that Article 35A will go by 2020. Before that, Arun Jaitley said that (Articles) 35A and 370 will be removed. Jammu Kashmir is not like other states. The other states merged with India without conditions but Kashmir has conditions; it didn’t accede for free,” he said.
“To maintain our identity, we recorded a few things in the constitution. We said we will have our own identity, we will have our own constitution, and we will have our own flag. At the time we had our Wazir-e-Aazam and Sadr-i-Riyasat, which were removed, but god willing, we will bring that back, too,” he said.
He said that removing special constitutional clauses related to Jammu & Kashmir will put a question mark on J&K’s accession with India.
“If you are talking of eroding the conditions on which J&K acceded with India, then you will have to talk of the accession itself first,” he said.
“In 1947 we acceded with India but they slowly eroded our special position. But we will not let them go further and will even take back whatever we lost. They will be forced to return whatever was snatched from us,” he said.