Srinagar – Alleging that the successive governments at New Delhi reneged on their promises, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah said there was a level of mistrust in Jammu and Kashmir and it was for the Centre to remove it.
“The first Prime Minister of India (Jawaharlal Nehru) promised plebiscite to the people of J&K, but backtracked . Then, former PM Narasimha Rao before (1996) elections promised us autonomy and said sky is the limit, but not independence. We said we never asked (for) independence, we have asked for autonomy. He promised us from the floor of the house… Where is that?” Dr Farooq told reporters after returning to Srinagar on Saturday after attending the All Party Meeting chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday in New Delhi.
Dr Abdullah, who is the Member of Parliament from Srinagar, said there is a level of mistrust and that mistrust has to be removed. “We should wait and see what they (the Centre) do… Whether they will remove the mistrust or let it continue. We will have to see how they remove it,” he added.
The NC president said even senior Congress leader Karan Singh has called for the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir before holding elections.
Answering a question, Dr Abdullah dismissed suggestions that the APM with the Prime Minister signalled the end of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD).
PAGD, which is an amalgam of five mainstream political parties — including NC, PDP, Awani National Conference (ANC) CPI(M) and Peoples Movement, was created after Article 370 and 35 A was abrogated and J&K was divided into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.
Prime Minister Modi chaired a meeting of 14 leaders from eight political parties in J&K on Thursday to discuss the future course of action for the Union Territory. This was the first such initiative by the Centre since the abrogation of the special status of the erstwhile state of J&K on August 5, 2019.
The Centre had invited four former chief ministers – Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah, Ghulam Nabi Azad, and Mehbooba Mufti, besides four Deputy Chief Ministers – Muzafar Hussain Beigh, Tara Chand, Nirmal Singh and Kavinder Gupta. Leaders of six other political parties — Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami of CPI(M), Sajad Gani Lone of Peoples Conference, Mohammad Altaf Bukhari of Apni Party, Prof Bhim Singh of Panthers Party, Ravinder Raina of BJP and G A Mir of Congress – were also invited for the meeting.