The President of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) Farooq Abdullah, on Wednesday, rejected claims that the Alliance has accepted 5 August 2019 announcements by New Delhi by participating in the recently concluded District Development Council (DDC) polls.
“Had we accepted revocation of Article 370, we would not have fought (DDC) elections. We fought elections against the 5 August 2019 unconstitutional announcements. We have not won in favor of these announcements and New Delhi knows it well,” Farooq, who is also president of the National Conference (NC) and incumbent Parliamentarian from the Srinagar constituency, told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Hindi in an interview.
“World is ready now to accept that whatever they (GoI) did was wrong. They have brought Bill on farms and see how people are against it. No discussion happened.”
PAGD is an alliance of several parties—J-K National Conference, People’s Democratic Party, Communist Party of India (M), J-K People’s Conference and J-K People’s Movement, and Awami National Conference (ANC).
Asked if he has the same apprehensions as articulated by the former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti that she might be arrested using agencies, Farooq said: “I don’t fear. Even if they take me to gallows, I am not going to change my stance. I am not ready to sell people.”
Asked if PAGD expected more seats in the DDC polls against around 110 won by the alliance, Farooq said, “See neither we were expecting anything nor we can say anything. See we were caged. Our people could not venture out. It is the courage of people that despite such pressures that they voted and supported us with such a huge mandate,” he said in the interview shared by the PAGD on the official Twitter handle and translated by a local news agency, Global News Service (GNS). “They [Bharatiya Janata Party] should be ashamed. They are still saying our Chief Minister is coming. Come on who stops you. Where is your democracy? Impose whosoever you want to impose. There will be his funeral also. Until you talk about and think about the hearts of people, who will occupy the land through army, police, and officer but never by heart.”
To a question whether “detestation and hatred” towards BJP leadership has increased in Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370, Farooq replied: “When was love for them in Kashmir? They tried to change the Indian constitution, divide Hindu and Muslim and tried to divide and rule akin to what the English did. Don’t think people will ever endorse them here. Yes, you will always find unscrupulous ones. People like Jaffer who paved way for English to settle in India will always be there.”
To a question that BJP for the first time won three DDC seats in Kashmir and if it will consolidate its position, the octogenarian said: “I don’t know. Allah knows better.”
On BJP calling PAGD “Gupkar Gang”, Farooq said: “They don’t have a sense of respect. Had there been values and intellect, they would never use such words. This is unparliamentarily behavior. It is highly deplorable language and I condemn the use of such words. They are showing the nation low.”
Farooq termed as “imperative” the need for talks with Pakistan over the Kashmir issue.
“It is imperative. It is indispensable. Our one part is still with them and (New Delhi) knows it better that it cannot be taken back military. We have to develop friendships with them. The world has become smaller and the more we live in peace and harmony together we will excel,” he said, adding, “The more there is hatred, the lesser there would be development and any progress would be very small.”
To a question as to where does he sees Kashmir amid India and China standoff lingering for a year now, Farooq said: “Kashmir has got trapped. On one side there is Pakistan and on the other hand, there is China. Issues will be resolved only through talks. If they think they can fight, they cannot. Why are they negotiating with China if they have the power to fight against China?”
Asked about his views on the role of “separatists” in the Kashmir issue, Farooq said: “See they are part of this state. It is a democratic setup. They want their space in the democratic setup. When friendly relations are developed between India and Pakistan, everything will be normal. Hatred will fall apart and ways and means of progress will open.”
To a question that after Article 370 revocation, the high-speed internet continues to be barred with government dishing one or the other reasons such as national security, etc, he said: “Please tell aren’t their national security issues in India. It’s only aimed at destroying the future of our children. Today our children need fast internet for studies. Our businessmen need fast internet. They think they will bring our downfall but they are ignorant that those believing Allah will never fall.”
Asked about his take on Union Home minister Amit Shah’s recent statement that Jammu and Kashmir have been most peaceful in the last six years of Modi’s rule, the three-time chief minister leader said, “You can see for yourself how peaceful J-K is. There is an army everywhere, the police is spread everywhere. Paramilitary forces are in every nook and corner. There is peace of graveyard here.”
To a question, if militancy has been really won over as claimed by the top Indian leadership, Farooq said: “Where? Every day you see news about encounters happening at one or the other place. Army generals keep on saying that a number of militants are waiting on launching pads. If there is everything normal, why is 4G still snapped? Prime Minister is talking about 5G.” (GNS)