Upon return from Delhi, Farooq Abdullah says there was ‘level of mistrust’ in J&K

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Srinagar

In Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the National Conference chief, Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said that there was “a level of mistrust” in Jammu and Kashmir and it was for the Indian government to remove it, even as his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah demanded restoring Jammu and Kashmir’s statehood before holding Assembly polls.

Speaking to reporters upon their return from New Delhi after attending an All-Party Meet convened by Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Jammu and Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah said that he would hold discussions with his party leaders and PAGD constituents before making any further statement on the meeting, South Asian Wire reported.

He said, the country’s first Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru promised plebiscite to the people of Kashmir, but went back on it.

He also said that before the 1996 elections, the then prime minister P V Narasimha Rao had promised autonomy from the floor of the house.

“Narasimha Raoji before elections promised us autonomy and said sky is the limit, but not independence.

We said we never asked (for) independence, we have asked for autonomy. He promised us from the floor of the house. Where is that?” Farooq asked.

“There is a level of mistrust….We should wait and see what they (the Indian rulers) do… Whether they will remove the mistrust or let it continue,” he added.

The former CM said even senior Congress leader Karan Singh has called for the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir before holding elections.

He said that at the prime minister’s meeting, all invited persons put forth their views.

The Srinagar Lok Sabha MP dismissed suggestions that the June 24 meeting with the Prime Minister signaled the end of People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) — a Six-party amalgam of mainstream parties formed after the Centre abrogated Article 370 and split Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories in August 2019.

Omar, meanwhile, told reporters that it was made clear to the Indian government during the PM’s meeting that the statehood should be restored to Jammu and Kashmir before holding of Assembly elections.

“(Ghulam Nabi) Azad sahib spoke on behalf of all of us that we do not accept this timeline. We do not accept delimitation, election, statehood.

We want delimitation, statehood and then election. If you want to hold polls, you will have to restore statehood first,” he told reporters soon after returning from Delhi.

On the process of delimitation, he said the National Conference had authorised its president, Farooq Abdullah to take a view as and when the party is approached by the delimitation commission again.

Dismissing suggestions that the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) was weakened after the meeting, Omar said that in the All-Party Meet alliance members said nothing which was outside the spirit of the grouping.—KMS

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