Govt claims to justify annulling of Article 370 proved hollow: Omar

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressing a public meeting at Doda on Sunday.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah addressing a public meeting at Doda on Sunday.

‘Boycott of Panchayat poll was mistake’

Avtar Bhat
DODA, Nov 28: Terming all the claims made by Union Government as “totally hollow” after the annulling of the special status of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir State, former Chief Minister and vice president National Conference (NC), Omar Abdullah today said that nothing has changed in J&K post August 5, 2019.
Addressing a public rally at Bus Stand here, Omar lambasted the Central Government and alleged all the claims made by it proved hollow during the last two years and four months after annulling of Articles 370 and 35 A.

Click here to watch video

He wanted to know did the big investors came to J&K post 370 abrogation and asked people “Have these investors set up industries, hotels in the UT. Did any hotelier came to Doda and Kishtwar from outside the UT to establish his business venture?”
The NC senior leader said “They had made claims of developing a tourist village near Baglihar dam in Ramban district and what happened to that. Has the Tourist village been established near the dam and did TATAs, Birlas and Ambanis came to J&K for investment post 370 abrogation?”
Omar Abdullah said “Instead of giving employment to people in the industrial units and projects which they claimed to be establishing in J&K, the Government even made unemployed those youth who were engaged by our Government in various projects established by us’’.
He, while criticizing the Union Government for its failure in restoring peace in J&K, said instead of restoring normalcy in the UT, the militancy has resurfaced in those areas which were liberated from militants by our Government earlier.
Maintaining that National Conference (NC) will not boycott the Assembly elections in the UT whenever they are announced, Omar termed the boycott in Panchayat elections by the party a great mistake. “With boycott of Panchayat poll we kept ground open for BJP and they took its full advantage’’, he added.
The NC leader cautioned the people against the rumor mongers and opponents of the party floating canards that NC will boycott the Assembly poll also which is not true. He said “by boycotting Assembly poll we will leave entire field open for BJP and they will come with such legislations in the Assembly which will be against the interests of the people and NC will not allow that to happen”.
He said if some body does not want to contest the elections at his own level he is free to do so but no one can thrust the decision on the party. The NC will take every decision in the larger interests of the people of the J&K and the organization, he added.
He alleged that attempts are being made to eliminate NC but NC is a people’s movement and they will not succeed in their designs. He made it clear that NC will continue to champion the cause of people of J&K and it will always stand by truth.
Situation in Doda, Kishtwar, Ramban and other towns and cities of the region, Omar rued is no different and the region, which had been rescinded from the development radar of the Government post 2015, received a fatal blow to its developmental prospectus. “Jobs for youth, connectivity, electricity, health and education in this region have taken a back seat in the region since 2015. Post 2019 the region has completely been relegated into oblivion, he added.
“BJP and its allies however, must understand that the people of Doda and Rajouri regions won’t allow any assault on their communal harmony. It is the unity of the people of J&K that frets them,” he added.
Later talking to media on the sidelines of the rally, Omar said that holding of elections and making preparations for the same is the duty of Election Commission. He said NC is always ready to contest the poll whenever they are held. “We are ready for elections always’’, he added.
The NC leader said the Assembly poll were now overdue in J&K. Earlier, they were held in 2014 and seven years have passed now so holding of Assembly elections have become inevitable.
He said whenever the bugle of Assembly elections will be sounded the NC will not lose even a minute in fielding its candidates.
In response to a question about the recent statement of DG Police that some parties were instigating the people over the Hyderpora, Srinagar incident, Omar said “We never instigated people nor will we do so. We have not done Hyderpora and we did not kill innocents so we are not responsible for that incident and those who are responsible for that incident should be identified.”
He said people become panicky when Hyderpora type incidents take place. They are worried and the guilty be identified and punished , he added.
Others who spoke included Ali Mohammed Sagar, general secretary, senior leaders Sajad Kichloo and Khalid Suharwardhy and provincial president, Rattan Lal Gupta.