NC threatens to boycott Parliament, Assembly polls over 35-A

Farooq stresses for Indo-Pak friendship

Fayaz Bukhari
Srinagar, Sept 8: National Conference which early this week announced boycott of Panchayat and Urban Local Bodies (ULB) elections, today threatened to boycott the Assembly and Parliamentary polls also if the Centre does not take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A.
NC president, Dr Farooq Abdullah said this at the grave of his father and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah in Hazratbal on his 36th death anniversary. “How can we go to our workers and ask them to come out to vote? First do justice to us and clear your (Centre) stand (on Article 35-A). If your plan is that (tinkering with Article 35A), then our ways are separate. Then we cannot have elections. Not only these (Urban Local Bodies and Panchayat) polls, but we will also boycott the Assembly and Parliamentary elections then,” he added.

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The former Chief Minister said his party is not running away from polls, but wanted the Centre to do justice with the people of Jammu and Kashmir first and take effective steps for protection of the State’s special position. “On one hand, they (Centre) want to conduct polls here. On the other hand, they want to revoke Article 35-A, Article 370 has been weakened and there are also attacks on the (Jammu and Kashmir) Constitution,” he said.
The NC leader said the Centre and the State Governments hurriedly annou-nced the ULB and Panchayat polls, which will be held next month in four and eight phases respectively. “First they should have talked to us. They should have called every leader that they plan to conduct polls and asked for our opinion. They did not. The Prime Minister announced on August 15 from the Red Fort that elections will be held in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.
Abdullah also targeted National Security Advisor (NSA) Ajit Doval over his statement that having a separate Constitution for Jammu and Kashmir was probably an “aberration”. “Their (Centre’s) intentions are not right. They never were. The NSA has said that a separate Constitution for Jammu and Kashmir is an aberration. I want to tell him from this stage that if the Constitution is an aberration, if Article 370 or Article 35A is an aberration, then this accession (of Jammu and Kashmir to India) is also an aberration,” he said.
“On one hand, they tell us that we are their crown, but on the other hand they put that crown in their feet… So, they have to think. They cannot control this State if they cause any further problems here. If they want this State together with the country, then they should stop what they are doing,” the NC president said.
Abdullah said: “We are passing through a difficult phase. The previous Government tried to create divisions in Hindus and Muslims. The Jammu is now one side and Kashmir on the other and to bringing them together is very difficult. If they try to do such things in future, it will be more difficult for the State.”
The NC president batted for India-Pakistan friendship for bringing peace in the State. “We expected friendship from the new Pakistani Prime Minister who is a player and has played cricket here and came here when he formed his party. Our issues will be resolved when there will be atmosphere of friendship between India and Pakistan. The media has to play important role in this. But the way media targeted Sidhu, it seem there are some channels which don’t want friendship between India and Pakistan”, he said.
“The friendship between India and Pakistan is vital for peace otherwise there would be no peace in Jammu and Kashmir. The infiltration will continue, people will continue to get killed and we don’t know how long we have to face this. This will continue till there is no friendship between India and Pakistan. When Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee can go to Pakistan and accept its creation at Nishan-e-Pakistan and forwarded hand of friendship towards Pakistan and we should not forget his words which he said in Tangdhar (North Kashmir) that friends can change but not the neighbours. If we remain friends with our neighbor, we both will prosper. If there is no friendship but animosity it will hamper prosperity”, the NC leader said.
He stressed for friendship with Pakistan. “I hope the Prime Minister will think over it. I read statement of Indian Ambassador that Pakistan wants friendship and if Indian Ambassador is saying this what is harm in it. Do we have to save the nation or create enmity between Hindus and Muslims”, he said.
Abdullah said that the way Muslims, Dalits, farmers and Scheduled Castes are targeted, this is path of destruction for our nation. “If we have to save this nation from destruction, we have to respect people of this nation and their religion. Nobody has told Muslims, Hindus or Christians to do this and that but when they came, they are asking, you can’t perform prayers or prayer call this way or that way. This is not the India of Gandhi, they want to change the India of Gandhi, they want that there should be only rule of one religion. Even if they lose elections they should save the country”, he said.
The NC president said that there is a conspiracy to terrorize the Kashmiri Pandit community and they want them to flee from here just like Jagmohan did and by this they want to create communal tension in the country. “We have to be vigilant against these forces. We should, all NC, Huriyat Conference, PDP fight these forces”, he said.