Farooq favours Indo-Pak confederation on Kashmir
26 March 2004
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: National Conference leader and former Power Minister Surjit Singh Salathia today filed his nomination papers from Jammu, Poonch Parliamentary Constituency. He was accompanied by former Chief Minister and patron of NC, Dr Farooq Abdullah. Later addressing the newsmen, Dr Abdullah favoured India- Pakistan Confederation on Kashmir. 'Our Party has been in favour of Indo-Pak Confederation on Kashmir. The idea of this was floated during the talks between the Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah, the first Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir and Pakistan military ruler, Gen Ayub Khan. The two leaders had discussed this idea way back in 1964, he recalled. On the opening of Srinagar, Muzaffarabad road and Jammu Suchetgarh route, the NC leader claimed that NC had basically taken this initiative first of all. This has been our demand since 1964. 'Let the two roads be opened so that the people can visit the two sides easily', he added. Regarding Centre's talks with Hurriyat Conference, Dr Abdullah said 'it is strange that many other political and ethnic groups have not been included in the talks and our stand is that all parties be invited for the parlays', he added. Strongly rejecting the demand for trifurcation of J&K made by Rashtriya Syamsevak Sangh (RSS), Dr Abdullah said vivisection will destroy the State. 'We can not preserve our culture if the State is divided', he said and warned those elements who try to divide the people on the name of region and religion. He said the protagonists of trifurcation were trying to exploit the sentiments of people of Jammu region on Permanent Residents (Disqualification) Bill, providing for divesting inheritance rights of those women who marry nonstate subjects. He said likewise the Bill No 9 was also opposed and a propaganda was launched throughout the country that Pakistanis will come over to settle in J&K and grab the property of the people here. 'But later the Pakistanis came with guns', he added. He said Maharaja was a great visionary who had kept this provision to preserve the culture of the State and regretted that our culture has eroded today. 'Where is Dogri culture and do we teach Dogri to our children in schools', he asked. He warned that if the Bill does not become the law outsiders will come and purchase our land and houses and throw us out. citing the example of Jews he said they came to Palestine and after purchasing the houses and land of the local people they expanded their territory which is Israel at present. He said that I am an Indian by core of my heart and in the Parliament I as well as Mr Salathia will fight for the national cause. In response to a question of NCís support to NDA after the elections, Dr Abdullah said it will be decided at the later stage. He also did not show any inclination for launching the campaign for his friends in other parts of the country during the elctioneering saying J&K is my first priority. Dr Abdullah said during the NC rule Prime Minister had declared that free and fair elections will be held in J&K but why he is not making such an announcement at this time and alleged that there was a nexus between Union Government and Government led by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed. However, Dr Abdullah favoured good relations between Centre and State saying this was must for the overall development. Earlier Dr Abdullah led an impressive NC rally along with Mr Salathia from Sher Kashmir Bhavan to DC office on foot. Among others NC provincial president, Ajay Sadhotra, former Minister, Harbans Singh and NC Womenís Wing leader Bimla Luthra were present.