NC asks Modi to initiate direct dialogue with people of JK

Jammu: The National Conference on Sunday appealed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to initiate a direct dialogue with the people of Jammu and Kashmir for the restoration of political and democratic process in the Union Territory.
It also condemned the extension of party president and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah’s detention by three months and said, “detaining a towering leader like him is akin to putting curbs on mainstream political ideology”.
“We appeal to the prime minister to open a direct dialogue with the people of different regions, who have varied aspirations, to ensure that the political and democratic process gets restored in Jammu and Kashmir,” NC provincial president Devender Singh Rana told reporters at the party headquarters here.
Rana, who was flanked by nearly a dozen party colleagues, including former ministers, said a process of dialogue should be set into motion for better development and strengthening of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir.
Seeking immediate release of all detained leaders, he said, “We believe that mainstream political leaders who are under detention in Kashmir have created a political vacuum which is neither in the interest of India nor the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“Abdullah is the torchbearer and glaring example of mainstream political ideology. Keeping him under detention is like putting curbs on mainstream political ideology,” the NC leader said.
Terming the imposition of PSA on Abdullah as “uncalled for, unconstitutional and unlawful”, Rana said he does not need any certificate from anyone to prove his nationalist credentials.
“His detention is a challenge to his nationalist character. He is the person who along with former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee represented India in Geneva and Vajpayee, the senior most BJP leader, at that time had said there is no bigger nationalist than him,” he said.
He said NC has always upheld democracy and its values.
“The party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah rejected the two-nation theory and sided with India, its Constitution and secular and democratic polity and kept its flag high,” Rana said.
On Lt Governor G C Murmu’s statement favouring early assembly elections in the UT, the NC leader said,
“If the situation is normal, then why leaders like Abdullah, a three-term chief minister of the erstwhile state, a former union minister and five-term parliamentarian,” have been detained.
“If there is a threat to peace from the National Conference and Abdullahs, then I don’t think there is anybody left to carry forward the peace process and democracy,” he said, pointing out that Omar Abdullah had tweeted hours before his detention and urged for maintenance of peace.
In response to a question about the party’s future course of action after abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A, Rana said his party has made it very clear that a meeting of its working committee — the highest decision making body — will be convened after the release of the leadership to decide the future roadmap.
“Sixty per cent of the party leadership which is part of the working committee is under detention. After their release, Abdullah will convene the working committee and after due deliberation and discussion, the future roadmap will be decided and announced,” he said.
Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti and several other leaders have also been under detention since August 5.

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