July 2020 News

'Won't Forget...': Omar Abdullah On Meeting PM Modi Days Before Article 370 Move

27 July 2020

New Delhi: National Conference leader Omar Abdullah has said that he 'will not be contesting any assembly elections' while Jammu and Kashmir remains a Union Territory, in a stinging piece in The Indian Express as the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status is set to complete one year on August 5. He also recalled his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi days before the centre's big Jammu and Kashmir move. 'As for me, I am very clear that while J&K remains a Union Territory I will not be contesting any Assembly elections. Having been a member of the most empowered Assembly in the land and that, too, as the leader of that Assembly for six years, I simply cannot and will not be a member of a House that has been disempowered the way ours has,' wrote Mr Abdullah, who was released from detention earlier this year, in his opinion piece. Hundreds of politicians including Omar Abdullah and his father, Farooq Abdullah, and Mehbooba Mufti were detained or arrested in August last year as part of the centre's massive clampdown after its decision to end special status to Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the constitution and split it into two union territories - Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. All three - the Abdullahs and Ms Mufti are former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir. On the reasons given by the government for its big move in the region last year , Mr Abdullah said 'none stands the test of basic scrutiny'. 'It (Jammu and Kashmir) has participated in the democratic processes and tried to share in the nation's development, but the promise made with it was not kept. This is one of those moments when it's important to ask whether it is better to be popular or to be right. Removing J&K's special status may have been the popular thing to do but going back on a nation's sovereign commitments is never going to be the right thing to do,' he wrote. 'Many reasons were given to justify the complete dilution of Article 370 when it was being rammed through Parliament, none stands the test of basic scrutiny. Whether on fuelling terrorism; lack of investment; or human development indices' - Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) July 27, 2020 Omar Abdullah was freed after nearly eight months of detention in Srinagar on March 24. Days before that, his father and former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah was also released from house arrest. Mehbooba Mufti is still in detention. The politician also wrote about his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi days before the sweeping developments in Jammu and Kashmir last year. 'It's not a meeting I will forget in a hurry. One day I may write about it but propriety precludes me from saying more than that we left the meeting with a completely different impression about what was going to unfold in the next 72 hours. In one fell swoop, everything we had feared came to pass,' he wrote. 'It's still impossible to come to terms with what I saw being rolled out on my television set that morning. Hours earlier, at the stroke of midnight, I had been placed under house arrest, and would be shifted to a government guest house by the end of the day,' he wrote in the beginning of his piece. Omar Abdullah, who turned 50 on March 10, was detained without charges but later, the government charged him the Public Safety Act (PSA). The charges listed out in a dossier against the National Conference leader included his 'ability to garner votes even during peak militancy and poll boycotts'. It said Mr Abdullah, a former Union Minister, could influence people for any cause and specifically cited his ability to bring voters out in the wake of boycott calls by separatists. Farooq Abdullah, 83, too was charged under the Public Safety Act last September.