Srinagar:Hitting out at BJP-led NDA government in the centre, former chief minister and National Conference (NC) vice president Omar Abdullah said that the promises made while abrogating special status of J&K, including flooding the region with investment, bringing about more employment and development, were nowhere visible in the erstwhile state.
Meanwhile, asserting that the betterment of Jammu and Kashmir rides on the Indo-Pak Bonhomie, Mr Abdullah hoped that the positive shift in the relation between the neighbors augurs well for long-lasting peace and prosperity in the entire region.
Referring to the August 5, 2019 measures, he said the measures were undertaken at the pretext of ushering in development in Jammu and Kashmir. He said the state was downgraded, divided and sheared off its constitutional status in the nonappearance of its elected leaders, who he said were caged for months altogether both at in-house and out-house confinement centers to ensure that the center had a free walk in bulldozing the state’s political identity and other constitutional safeguards.
“The measures were undertaken at the pretext of flooding the region with investment, bringing about more employment and development. But so far the promised flood of investment, development, infra-up gradation is nowhere visible on ground. What is it that has been achieved by GOI? Contrary to it the entire region has been put on the path of terminal alienation and dismemberment. The striking feature of the Kashmir post August 5, 2019 has been marked by administrative inertia, development deficit, crumbling economy, and failure of the administration even to ensure basic amenities like water, electricity and connectivity to people. All the promises which were made to people in the run up for unilateral measures of August 5 have deflated. The government has lost its plot. The only thing that the GOI has been able to achieve is to put the entire region on the path of terminal alienation,” he added.
On the front of peacemaking, he said that it was told that peace will prevail in the region post nullification of the state’s constitutional status. “But the prevailing situation doesn’t attest to what was being claimed,” he said.
He said that asking people to remove Pherans at government functions explains it all. “It has never been the case, even in the height of turmoil nobody was ever asked to remove their Pherans at government functions. Having such a measure in place now reveals how better the security situation has become. It took the party five days to get permission for today’s public gathering. It has become a norm, never has this been the case that political gathering and public meets had to wait for such a long time to get permission and other security clearances,” he said.
Mr Abdullah said after August 5, 2019 the people of Jammu and Kashmir have been put on the path of disenfranchisement. “The measures like sidelining locals from sand extraction give a picture of discrimination and mortification that the people of J&K are facing,” he said.
He said the renewed engagement between India and Pakistan vindicates the long-standing stand of the National Conference party on the inevitability of dialogue between India and Pakistan.
He said that the party has been a strong votary of greater India – Pakistan bonhomie knowing that such a step, if endured positively and sincerely, will have a positive impact on the lives of people of Jammu and Kashmir and the entire region as well.
“We have all along been reminding the ruling party the extent to which their founding member Late Vajpayee ji went in fostering good relations with our neighboring country. It was Vajpayee who had said that friends can be changed not neighbors. NC has all along maintained that there is no substitute to dialogue, we hope and pray that this new opportunity of friendship is not lost. Unfortunately our repeated pleas for dialogue and peacemaking were made a point of ridicule by the ruling party but finally our stands vindicated in wake of the fresh diplomatic outreach in terms of DGMO level talks and IWT meeting between the two nations. We believe that PM Modi’s letter to his Pakistani counterpart is a step in the right direction. I hope that the step further helps in building an environment of trust,” he said.