July 2000 News

Let''s start from 1947: Farooq

14 July 2000
The Hindu
Shujaat Bukhari

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, today said he wanted to discuss the Kashmir issue right from 1947 so that the honour and confidence of the people could be restored and a solution found. While reiterating that Kashmir would never secede from India, he said all options would be discussed by the working committee of the National Conference. Talking to mediapersons after the fourth-day ceremony of his mother, Begum Akbar Jehan, Dr. Abdullah said, ''We are going to discuss all the aspects of the Kashmir issue right from 1947 to this date, and without any conditions.'' He was ready to discuss everything, including the 1975 accord between Indira Gandhi and Sheikh Abdullah. On how much depends on the working committee meeting which will resume deliberations tomorrow, he said: ''Nothing depends on that.'' However, he said no option had been foreclosed, when his attention was drawn towards the statement of the NC general secretary, Sheikh Nazir Ahmed, last Monday, when he had said the working committee was discussing only ''whether to remain in the NDA or not''. He is the general secretary and makes the laws of the party, the Chief Minister added. Dr. Abdullah said he had no reason to doubt the sincerity of the Prime Minister, Mr. A.B. Vajpayee, who had made an offer to him to come to Delhi to discuss the issue. He will be accompanied by some of his ministerial colleagues to Delhi on Monday for discussions with the Prime Minister. ''A solution which is acceptable to the people has to be hammered out... a way has to be found so that we are on the path of peace and prosperity,'' he said. Earlier speaking at the function organised at the mausoleum of Sheikh Abdullah, where Begum Akbar was laid to rest, the Chief Minister said Kashmir will never secede from India to become independent or part of Pakistan. ''Yehan azadi ya Pakistan kabhi nahin aaney wala hai,'' he said. But there was no going back on the issue of autonomy as it was the question of honour and dignity of the people. He noted that newspapers had been writing that the autonomy issue was only being used to fool the people, as ''Farooq Abdullah was not serious'', but ''when the resolution was passed it was like a hydrogen bomb''. He said that he does not want to put the people into trouble like the All-Party Hurriyat Conference is doing. Thousands of people today participated in the fourth- day ceremony of Begum Abdullah, paying rich tributes to her. Dr. Abdullah announced that a Trust in the name of Begum Abdullah, popularly known as Madar-e-Meharban, would be set up to rehabilitate widows and orphans who were victims of 10 years of militancy. He donated a cheque of Rs.1 lakh to the Trust which he received today as Dr. B.C. Roy Award in Delhi.


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