HM’s statement on repealing AFSPA empty talk, election rhetoric: Omar Abdullah

Srinagar Mar 28: National Conference (NC) Vice President Omar Abdullah on Thursday questioned the timing of Home Minister Amit Shah’s statement on AFSPA in J&K calling it an election rhetoric to hoodwink people.

According to a statement issued by the party, Omar made these comments while addressing a party workers convention in Sopore.

In his address, he said, “The way people of Ladakh have been cheated over the restoration of Statehood and Sixth Schedule, Mr. Shah is repeating the same formula in J&K. If New Delhi thinks everything is normal in J&K, even militancy and separatism are over, then it’s high time to remove AFSPA and withdraw troops. There should be no need to wait further.”

Asking why such announcements are being made now and not in all these ten year while BJP was in power, he said that NC has been a strong votary of Revocation of AFSPA and that he had started the struggle against its revocation in 2011.

“Army Chief General VK Singh who is now a minister in the same government, opposed my plans tooth and nail and sabotaged the program of canceling AFSPA. They are out to deceive the public.”

He asked the Home Minister if the government is sincere enough in revocation of AFSPA, then why don’t they make civilian movement easier on the highway.

“People are being stopped on the highway for hours altogether. Let them first start with this measure and give people travelling on the highway a sigh of relief, then we will accept that they are serious in AFSPA revocation,” he said adding, “Hundreds of our youth are locked up in prisons outside J&K. First do the work of bringing them home and releasing them. But for now, I appeal to them to hold an inquiry into the fake encounters instead of paying lip service to find out who did these fake encounters. We have also been demanding an inquiry into the atrocities that took place here, but as far as we know, the present government acquitted the perpetrators of the Amshipura fake encounter, who were found guilty in military courts.”

Omar Abdullah said that new actions are being perpetrated today, whereby grandchildren of separatist leaders are being asked to publish secessionist advertisements in newspapers.

“Prime Minister Modi had said that they need to win hearts, but the hearts cannot be won by threats. People who distributed sweets, danced, sang, celebrated Art 370 revocation are protesting. Only yesterday one of them went on hunger strike for 21 days and drank a glass of juice and said that we were better off with Jammu and Kashmir than to be rejoined with Kashmir.”

The NC vice president said that today BJP is trying to bring A team, B team, CT and D team on the same stage. “The aim is to weaken the National Conference but the way the Janata Party and its allies were beaten in 1977, the same fate awaits the present day conspirators.”

Declaring the indifference and resentment of the people of Sopore as right, Omar Abdullah said that the rulers have left the people of this historic area at the mercy of the situation.

“Even today, the second largest fruit market in Asia is in a bad condition. The current government has left no stone unturned to destroy the fruit industry here. To show, they keep an apple mark for the election, but these people have hollowed out this apple from the inside. The central government has reduced the excise duty on apples abroad to please other countries so much that now the apples are sold in America, China, Iran comes from the UK and other countries and nobody is going to buy our apples. The MPs of the National Conference knocked on the door of every ministry in Delhi and repeatedly said in the Lok Sabha that the work you are doing to reduce the excise duty is like a kick on the back of our people, but they did not listen. It is a pity that the self-styled leader who calls himself the younger brother of Prime Minister Modi did not bother to go to his elder brother and raise this issue. They were going, but they kept quiet at that time and now during the election they will say that they will represent the people here.”

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