Pulwama: National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah criticized the BJP-led Central government on Wednesday, asserting that its decision to abrogate the Article 370 provisions damaged the relationship between Jammu and Kashmir and the rest of the country. Speaking to the media, Abdullah stated that the decision to revoke the special status of the erstwhile state was not met with approval by the people, and it hurt their sentiments. He emphasized that the promises made to Jammu and Kashmir were not merely the commitments of a single leader or party in Delhi but were commitments made by the entire country to the people of J-K. According to Abdullah, the bond was not between an individual in Delhi and J-K, but rather a connection between the entire country and the state.
He further expressed the belief that people would manifest their dissatisfaction with these decisions in the upcoming assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir. Abdullah stated, "If they think that harming this bond deserves congratulations, then let them congratulate each other. The truth is that people in Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh are not happy with the steps taken on August 5, 2019. This was proved in Kargil (LAHDC polls). It was proved in DDC (District Development Council) polls, and if they conduct assembly elections here, it would be proved again."
Criticizing the Central government for not holding elections in the region, Abdullah alleged that a fixed match is being played. He emphasized that the people of J-K have the right to use their vote and elect their leaders, and this right is being denied to them. "It is the right of people of J-K to use their vote and elect their leaders. We are being kept away from this. A fixed match is being played - when you ask the Election Commission (about elections in J-K), it points at the Centre, and when we ask the Centre, it points towards EC," said Abdullah.
He expressed concern that the delay in holding assembly elections in the Union territory is leading Jammu and Kashmir down the path of destruction and depriving the people of their right to vote. Abdullah stated, "It's taking the region towards destruction. People have been deprived of their right to vote since 2014." This comes on a day when a debate on the Jammu and Kashmir Reservation (Amendment) Bill and the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation (Amendment) Bill is taking place in the Lok Sabha. Union Home Minister Amit Shah has highlighted that these bills aim to provide rights to those who faced injustice, were insulted, and ignored.
"The Bill that I have brought here pertains to bringing justice to and providing rights to those against whom injustice was done, who were insulted and those who were ignored. In any society, those who are deprived should be brought forward. That is the basic sense of the Constitution of India. But they have to be brought forward in a way that doesn't reduce their respect. There is a huge difference between giving rights and giving rights respectfully. So, instead of weak and deprived category renaming it to Other Backward Class is important," said Amit Shah.
The Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 on August 5, 2019, soon after the second term of the PM Modi-led government began. Included in the Constitution on October 17, 1949, Article 370 exempts J-K from the Indian Constitution (except Article 1 and Article 370 itself) and permits the state to draft its own Constitution.