Advani’s Autobiography Stirs Hornet’s Nest In Kashmir

24 March 2008

Srinagar: Senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader L.K. Advani’s autobiography “My Country, My People” has stirred up a hornet’s nest in Jammu and Kashmir. Advani, who was the home minister when the regional National Conference passed its autonomy resolution in the state assembly in June 2000, has written that the party patron and the then chief minister Farooq Abdullah was clearly told he would have to walk out of the NDA alliance and power if he chose to stick to his autonomy demand. Advani has also written that the National Conference preferred to be in power rather than pursue the demand with New Delhi. Reacting angrily to Advani’s assertions, Abdullah said here: “We would rather die than surrender our autonomy demand. Advani’s book is a bundle of lies and I refute it. We had put forth a legal document in the shape of the autonomy resolution which New Delhi is neither able to vomit nor digest.” Abdullah disclosed his government had submitted the autonomy report prepared by his party to the central government through the Intelligence Bureau (IB). “We sent the autonomy report to the centre through the IB. It was never acknowledged,” the former chief minister said. In another reference in his book, Advani says Kashmiri separatist Hurriyat leaders had been told that all talks with them would be held by the central government within the limits of the Indian constitution only, and that they agreed to this. Hurriyat Chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq has taken exception to Advani’s statement. “The assertion of the senior BJP leader, L.K. Advani, that the government had made it clear to us no proposals would be discussed outside the Indian constitution are baseless. “We talked to the government of India as the principal party to the Kashmir dispute,” the Mirwaiz told reporters here Tuesday. “No pre-conditions had been imposed for the talks we held with the Indian leaders. “We talked only about the Kashmir issue and not about any incentives. There was no mention of Indian constitution during our talks with Mr. Advani,” the Mirwaiz said.