Written byShalini Ojha
Almost a year after Jammu and Kashmir was stripped of its special status and split into two Union Territories, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wrote a strongly-worded opinion piece in Indian Express, announcing that he would not contest Assembly polls till statehood is restored.
He also called the government's big J&K move a "humiliation" and claimed it didn't serve the purpose.
In August last year, NDA, buoyed by the majority it enjoyed in Parliament, rescinded Article 370, which allowed J&K citizens to live under a separate set of rules.
Before this historic decision, mainstream and separatist politicians were put under house arrest. The government also snapped internet and phone connections in the Valley to prevent misuse.
Subsequently, pleas were filed against the decision.
Noting that Article 370's revocation didn't surprise him, considering BJP had been promising the same in several elections, Abdullah added that turning J&K into a UT was humiliating, nonetheless.
"Over the last seven decades, Union Territories have been upgraded to states but this was the first time a state was downgraded to a Union Territory," he wrote.
He claimed BJP "punished" J&K residents.
"If the reason for carving out a separate Union Territory for Ladakh was the public demand among the Buddhist population of the area, then the demand for a separate state for the people of Jammu is much older," he wrote.
Further, Abdullah added that none of the justifications given by Centre pass basic scrutiny. He asked if Article 370 fueled separatism, why did the government tell the Supreme Court that violence has increased in the Valley in the last one year.
He noted no major investment happened in one year.
He claimed before the outbreak of militancy, J&K's industrial base was sound.
He also remembered meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, days before his government took the giant step.
"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," he wrote.
According to Abdullah, his party, National Conference, is yet to decide the future course of action as most of its leaders are still under detention. He said he will continue to strengthen his party.
But one thing he seemed certain of — he would not participate in Assembly polls and refused to be part of a disempowered House.
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