PAGD united, will continue its struggle: Omar

NC vice president Omar Abdullah addressing a public meeting at Khanabal in Anantnag on Sunday.
NC vice president Omar Abdullah addressing a public meeting at Khanabal in Anantnag on Sunday.

‘Khattar’s remarks target one religion’

Excelsior Correspondent

SRINAGAR, Dec 12: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah today condemned Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s remarks that offering ‘Namaz’ in open spaces will not be tolerated, saying the decision was wrong and it clearly meant that one particular religion was being targeted.
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He said there is total freedom to practice one’s religion in the country.
“The Haryana CM’s statement and his decision is totally wrong,” Abdullah told reporters after a party function in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
“I would have accepted it had this ban been on every religion, but by this pick and choose, it is clear that the target is one particular religion which is not allowed by the Constitution of this country,” he added.
Abdullah said “this was not the India” to which Jammu and Kashmir had acceded.
“J-K had acceded to a secular, tolerant India,” he said, adding, “this (Khattar’s) statement is highly condemnable”.
Asked whether the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — the amalgam of six mainstream political parties seeking the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir which was revoked by the Centre on August 5, 2019 — was united, Abdullah said, “It was united and will continue its struggle”.
“The fight will continue. If there is a need to bring some changes in that, we will do that. There are no second thoughts that our rulers do not like the PAGD. There were attempts before as well to weaken the PAGD. One of our colleagues was separated from the PAGD on one pretext or the other,” he said, referring to Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference parting ways with the alliance earlier this year.
He, however, said the rest of the constituents of the PAGD “understand these designs” and “will not allow them to succeed”.
Omar said the real purpose of August 5, 2019 decisions, continue to remain a mystery.
While addressing a party convention at Dak Bungalow, Khanabal in Anantnag, he said, “Different grounds were given for undertaking these decisions across the country and worldwide. The impression given out was that the Articles 370 and 35 -A were the major stumbling block to development, achieving peace, stamping out separatism and corruption. All said and done, what is it that has been achieved? I posed the same question to the people yesterday at Baramulla. If truth be told, there isn’t anything.”
Dismantling the media propaganda on development activities post abrogation Omar said, “Much of the infrastructure, roads, hospitals, administrative headquarters, railways, the utility services and educational institutes existed before August 5, 2019. Let them show a single building, road, university, hospital that has come up post August 2019. There is nothing to show. Where is that dawn that was promised on August 5 decisions would usher in,? he said adding, “Situation is no different in Jammu. “People who celebrated the August 5,2019 decisions there by bursting crackers and distributing sweets have lost their sleep and are worrying over the future of their kids.”
Expressing disappointment over the regressed situation, Omar castigated the administration for trying to “score propaganda and public relations victories rather than focus on the ground realities. “The situation is such now that the militancy has returned to areas, which were declared militancy free. We removed 40 bunkers from Srinagar during our tenure, and forces imprint was also brought down in wake of the improvement in the situation on ground. But now the bunkers have returned, so has the forces imprint.
“Militancy has returned to the pockets, which were declared militancy free. Let alone repealing of AFSPA, more stringent laws like UAPA have been brought in. NIA and SIA are a few more additions to the list. Will any of these measures be taken for the return of peace? Isn’t it?” he asked.