‘Ease highways travel restrictions, release jailed youth before considering repeal of AFSPA’

Waris Fayaz

Sopore, Mar 28 :

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah expressed his disappointment on Thursday over the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) consideration of revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) after a decade. He, however, cautioned against being misled by such promises.

As per the news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), addressing a large gathering at Dak Bungalow Sopore in north Kashmir, Omar said that the tactics employed by the BJP, including “soliciting” newspaper notices from separatist families, would not win over the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“It is unfortunate that the BJP is contemplating the revocation of AFSPA after ten years. However, don’t be fooled into believing that it will actually be revoked. Similarly, the people of Ladakh were deceived with promises of Sikh-Schedule status, only to be later deprived of it,” he said.

Reflecting on his tenure as Chief Minister from 2011, Omar recalled his efforts to repeal AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir. He, however, lamented that these endeavours were consistently thwarted by various impediments.

Responding to Home Minister Amit Shah’s recent remarks, the NC leader urged for the easing of travel restrictions on highways and the release of incarcerated youth before considering the repeal of AFSPA.

“The claims of unprecedented change and development touted by the government are nowhere to be seen, especially in places like Sopore. There has been little progress since 2014, with outsiders benefitting more than Kashmiris in terms of employment opportunities and contracts,” he asserted. “Whether it is employment, jobs or even sand extraction contracts, outsiders are benefitting more than Kashmiris.”

The former CM further said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s repeated slogans of “Dil Ki Doori, Dilli Se Doori” hold true only if they genuinely want to implement it in letter and spirit.

He said the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019 has left the youth of Jammu and Kashmir disillusioned, with many regretting their initial support for it.

“Those who celebrated the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 by bursting firecrackers are now deeply upset, citing that they were okay before 2019. This is why we believe the decision is unacceptable,” he said. “It is only our vote that will convey to them that the Article 370 abrogation was wrong and is unacceptable.”

Omar also called for a thorough investigation into alleged fake encounters in Jammu and Kashmir, questioning the government’s inaction despite prior knowledge.

“Home Minister’s remarks about fake encounters in Jammu and Kashmir raise questions. If they were aware of it, why didn’t they act then? They should conduct a full-fledged inquiry. The reality is that this government is now striving to release the guilty. Machil, Rajouri and others are examples,” he said.

Regarding the INDIA alliance, the NC Vice President reiterated his commitment to the coalition, saying there is no question of unity or reunification as the National Conference remains an integral part of the alliance. “BJP will face defeat in all five seats and will forget AFSPA then,” he said.

Responding to queries about the recent trend of separatist families disassociating themselves from separatist organisations through newspaper notices, Omar criticised the “coercion” behind such actions.

“They are being forced. It is an old trend when NC people too were asked for the same; however, this is surely not going to win the hearts,” he said—(KNO)


Shaharbeen News Service Kashmir is a news service which covers, gathers, writes, and distributes news to newspapers, periodicals, radio and television broadcasters, government agencies, and other users. We at SNS Kashmir believe in fair and independent journalism to inform our masses or subscribers and readers about the happenings around the world. The prime focus of the news gathering and reporting is focused on Jammu and Kashmir state.

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