Row Over 1975 Accord, Accession14 June 2011
Srinagar: The remarks of senior Congress leaders Dr Karan Singh and Makhan Lal Foetedar on accession and the 1975 agreement have not gone well with National Conference with the latter arguing that had the accession been unconditional, Article 370 would not have been in vogue. The ruling party has gone to the extent of terming the Indira-Abdullah agreement as an “incomplete exercise” citing there are no signatures on the document. According to senior NC leader and MLA Hazratbal, Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, following the meeting between Mirza Afzal Beg and G Parthasathy to discuss the accord, the then Prime Minister, Indira Gandhi and Chief Minister, Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah never met to sign the document.“This has been mentioned by G Parthasathy in his book where he has quoted Mir Qasim,” he said. He said if New Delhi and leaders like Karan Singh and Foetedar were confident about the 1975 agreement, the document should be made public. “There are no signatures on the document. Sheikh sahib has not signed any agreement in 1975,” said Kamal. “The 1975 document has not even seen light of Parliament let alone State Assembly.” He said the statement made by Karan Singh wherein he said the 1975 agreement was meant to bring those espousing the cause of plebiscite into the mainstream fold was far from reality. “If that was the case, why did Congress withdraw its support from Sheikh just after one-and-a half years,” the NC leader questioned. He said making such statements at a time when people were coming out to vote in panchayat elections tantamount to “scuttling” the peace efforts of chief minister Omar Abdullah. On Foetedar’s claim that 1947 accession was final and unconditional, Kamal said, “Had that been the case then why is Article 370 there?” “If 1975 agreement was being projected as a resolution to Kashmir, why did he work as chairman of State Autonomy Committee?” he asked. Kamal said talking about 1975 accession at a time when pressure for Kashmir resolution was mounting from various quarters means sabotaging peace in Kashmir. “What prompted Dr Singh to talk about 1975 after 35 years,” Kamal asked. On Foetedar’s statement that had PDP patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed been given an extension in 2005, Kashmir issue would have been resolved, the NC leader said his party had no role in toppling the Congress-PDP government and change of guard. “It was after Congress objected to it. NC had no role in it.” Congress leaders in New Delhi, he said, were having ill-intentions about Kashmir. “Sheikh sahib wanted upliftment of Muslims in the Muslim majority state with equal rights to minority. But it seems that New Delhi wants otherwise,” Kamal said. Meanwhile, despite coming under heavy criticism for his comments on accession, Foetedar said he only recognizes Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah as a leader of high stature in NC. Fotedar said he would keep saying that accession was “final and unconditional”. He also added that he was not pro-Mufti but pro-Kashmir.