In a region mired in conflict, it takes all the more courage, and perseverance to be the voice of the voiceless and to separate facts from propaganda. Help The Kashmir Monitor sustain so that we continue to be editorially independent. Remember, your contributions, however small they may be, matter to us.

Won’t contest Assembly elections till Jammu and Kashmir is a UT: Omar Abdullah

‘Will continue to oppose Article 370 abrogation in Supreme Court’

Srinagar: In a major political development, former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has decided that he would not contest Assembly elections till J&K remains a Union Territory as he cannot be a part of a “disempowered house”.

Expressing his opinion for the first time since August 5 last year, the National Conference vice president, who was detained for months following the abrogation of Article 370, wrote in his piece published in The Indian Express:  “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.”

 

Omar said he failed to understand why J&K was downgraded to a Union Territory “except to punish and humiliate the people of the state”.

“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 a much older demand. If the demand was conceded on religious grounds, then it ignored the fact that Leh and Kargil districts, which together make up the Union Territory of Ladakh, are Muslim majority and the people of Kargil are vehemently opposed to the idea of being separated from J&K,” he wrote.

He questioned that while it was alleged that Article 370 “fuelled separatism and allowed militant violence to thrive in Kashmir why is it that almost a year later the same Union government is forced to tell the Supreme Court that violence in J&K is increasing?”

“Article 370 has kept the people of J&K in poverty was another claim. Even a cursory glance at poverty figures would show that J&K has some of the lowest levels of poverty in the country. Article 370 was alleged to have denied J&K investment. Prior to the outbreak of militancy in the state, J&K was amongst the most progressive states with a growing industrial base and impressive investment in manufacturing,” he wrote.

Omar added that his party does not agree with what has been done to J&K nor does it accept what has been done.

“We shall oppose this, our opposition will continue in the highest court in the land in the form of the legal challenge filed in the Supreme Court last year,” he said.