March 2003 News

NC Hints At Plebiscite Card, Asks Army To Go Back

14 March 2003
The Indian Express

Srinagar: Still licking its wounds inflicted by the defeat in the recent J-K Assembly elections, the National Conference is threatening to raise the spectre of plebiscite again if New Delhi continues to 'push Kashmiris to the wall'. The party has also accused the Army of being anti-Muslim and sought their return to the barracks. Senior NC leader and younger brother of former CM Farooq Abdullah, Mustafa Kamal, today warned that though the party had made a choice to be part of the Indian Union, 'if New Delhi continues to push us to the wall, returning to the plebiscite front can well be an option'. He accused the Centre of having ditched the NC several times. 'The Assembly polls were the latest example. Every effort was made to make sure we lose the elections,' he said. 'It was in our last Cabinet meeting (after the polling) that we came to know the Army had issued orders to its formations here to see NC does not come to power again.' 'We have always been fighting for political justice and want autonomy to be restored to Kashmir. But we have been time and again deceived,' Kamal, who was a Cabinet minister in the Farooq Abdullah government, said. 'We already feel pushed to the wall. And if there is pressure from the people, a return to plebiscite front is an option is open before the party'. Kamal was especially agitated about the role of the Army and security forces in Kashmir. 'The security forces have overstepped their role. They have been killing people, torching villages and humiliating women. Even Cabinet ministers were not spared. I was myself assaulted several times even when I was a Cabinet minister,' he said. 'I am sorry to say the intentions of the Army and other security forces here are negative particularly towards Muslims'. Kamal said the Army and security forces have no longer any role to play in Kashmir. 'They should be asked to shift from Kashmir and go back to pre-1989 (peace time) positions.' Asked why the NC allowed it to happen when they were in rule, he said his party had 'realised that even these atrocities were part of the same game aimed at to discredit us.'


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