Where do the ‘tall’ leaders and separatists stand after the abrogation of Article 370?
On November 3, National Conference (NC) chief, Lok Sabha MP, and former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) CM, Farooq Abdullah, made an important political announcement at Budgam, Kashmir. He, among other things, said: His son and former J&K CM “Omar Abdullah will not contest Assembly elections till statehood is restored to J&K” . Frustrated and out-on-the-limb, Farooq Abdullah, who is known for shifting stands and who once went to the extent of saying that they would restore Article 370 with the Chinese help, didn’t say anything new. Farooq Abdullah had said, “he wished that with China’s support, Article 370 of the Constitution, which conferred special status on J&K, will be restored”. Farooq Abdullah only reiterated what Omar Abdullah wrote more than two years ago. Broken-hearted and disillusioned Omar Abdullah, inter-alia, wrote: “While J&K remains Union Territory (UT), I will not contest Assembly elections. Having been a member of the most empowered Assembly in the land and that, too, as leader of that Assembly for six years, I simply cannot and will not be a member of a House that has been disempowered the way ours has”. His reference was to the abrogation of separatist Article 370 under which the Kashmiri Muslim leadership exercised absolute, unbridled, and extraordinary legislative, executive, financial and judicial powers and J&K enjoyed semi-sovereign status.
Earlier on December 7, 2021, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief and former J&K CM Mehbooba Mufti, too, had announced that “she won’t contest polls till Article 370 is restored”. Interacting with media persons at the Indian Women Press Corps, she had also said: “Statehood is not their demand…The present government (read Narendra Modi government) is running the country with a colonial mindset. Unfortunately, J&K has become a laboratory for their experiments. Gandhi’s India has become Godse’s India…”.
The decision of highly unpopular Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti to hold aloof from the electoral politics till Article 370 and statehood to J&K are restored has hardly evoked any response in and outside J&K. The reasons are obvious. One of the reasons is that both are highly unpopular and both are squarely responsible for the decline of their respective outfits in Kashmir, once considered their strongholds. In Jammu, the NC and the PDP had little or no support base. That they are unpopular could be seen from the fact that while uncouth, crude, rude, and arrogant Omar Abdullah brought the tally of his party from 57 in 1996 to just 28 in the 2002 assembly elections and failed to improve its tally even by one seat in the 2008 Assembly elections, the dictatorial Mehbooba Mufti left her senior colleagues in the party and the unpopular PDP-BJP coalition government that she led between April 2016 and June 18, 2018, with no other option but to snap all their ties with her and her party. Almost all the founder members of the PDP have resigned from the PDP.
The truth is that both Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have lost their sheen and appeal in Kashmir. As for the people of Jammu province, they hated and despised, and continue to hate and despise, the kind of politics they played in and outside the Assembly to unsettle the settled in J&K, their subversive and essentially communal ideology and their atrocious concept of India and on India. The manner in which Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba, like their predecessors and successors, excluded the people of Jammu province from all walks of life and systematically rendered them unreal to create an impression that they were no more than their subjects destined only to serve the Kashmiri interests, suffer humiliations and taunts and survive on crumbs will linger in their minds for centuries. The memories of what these former Kashmiri rulers said again and again about Jammu, the Jammu Dogras, and the Dogras’ heroes; the memories of how they systematically destroyed the Dogras’ precious heritage and culture; and the memories of how they drained, fleeced and exploited the people of Jammu province, like imperialist Britain, had drained, fleeced, exploited and misruled India, will always remain too fresh to be forgotten. Besides, the outraged, aggrieved, and alienated people of Jammu province will never forgive Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti for certain statements they made and certain executive actions which they took.
A reference to a few statements made and actions taken by Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti would be in order. Omar Abdullah, who led the NC-Congress coalition government for 6 long years after the 2008 Assembly elections, settled thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis at strategic locations in Jammu, opposed tooth and nail the presence of the Indian Army in Kashmir, consistently demanded the withdrawal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), gave overt and covert support to terrorists and separatists of all varieties, to mention only a few. Omar Abdullah misused the floor of the Assembly on March 25, 2013, to question the status of J&K vis-a-vis India. He, inter-alia, said: “Those who repeatedly cram that J&K is an integral part of India (Atoot Ang) forget that the accession was only on three subjects of communication-currency, defence, and foreign affairs…J&K only acceded to India and not merged with India and the Atoot Ang statement will not change the political status of J&K” . In December 2015, Mehbooba Mufti said that “her party had sought approval from the ‘Hurriyat party’ for the government formation with the BJP”. “With (former PM, Atal Bihari) Vajpayee the experience was good, but forming an alliance with the present BJP was not easy for us. It took us two months to decide the agenda of the alliance. Hurriyat party was also called and getting its consent on most of the issues the government is working on,” she also said while speaking at “Agenda Aaj Tak” in New Delhi. On July 19, 2017, Mehbooba Mufti – in the presence of senior BJP leaders and think tanks — said in Delhi that “no one will shoulder national flag in Kashmir if special status of J&K is tempered with”. On February 14, 2018, she provided administrative immunity to the land grabbers and bovine smugglers belonging to a particular community and openly encouraged them to occupy and grab the state and forest lands in Jammu’s (Hindu-majority) Jammu, Kathua, Samba, and Udhampur districts. Not just this, she directed the “IGP Jammu, police authorities and all Deputy Commissioners not to provide any police protection for eviction of tribals without the approval from the Tribal Affairs Department…”.
The whole truth is that the attitude of Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, like all Valley-based Muslim leaders, to India, the Indian Constitution, Indian laws, Indian institutions, the Indian Army, China, Pakistan, the Organization of Islamic Conference, terrorists, separatists, non-Kashmiris, non-Muslims, daughters of J&K, Jammu, Ladakh, Hindu-Sikh refugees from Pakistan/ Gorkhas/ Valmikis, Jammu-based Rohingyas and Bangladeshis, etc is the same. There is no difference whatsoever. Hence, their decision to remain outside the J&K Assembly could be termed as good riddance.
1. Text in Blue points to additional data on the topic.
2. The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of PGurus.
 Omar Abdullah will contest poll if statehood of J&K restored: NC – Nov 04, 2022, Tribune India
 Omar Abdullah says he will not contest elections till Jammu and Kashmir remains a UT – Jul 27, 2020, India Today
 Did PDP consult Hurriyat Conference before forming J&K government with BJP? – Dec 14, 2015, Firstpost
 Mehbooba directive on eviction of tribal population from govt land – Mar 07, 2018, Business Standard
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