Accusing Delhi of fragmenting the political mainstream in Jammu and Kashmir to weaken Kashmiri voice, Ali Mohammad Sagar, the senior National Conference leader and minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Saturday said that Kashmir’s voice has been made ‘weak and fragile’ under a ‘well knit plan’ and that is why the central government has disrespected NC’s autonomy proposal and a resolution adopted on the issue.
Talking to a local news agency, KNS, Sagar said that his party has no other option but to continue to pursue restoration of Autonomy as a political roadmap for the resolution of Kashmir issue. He said, “See, Delhi cannot not afford freedom for Kashmir nor it can allow Kashmir’s merger with Pakistan. The only solution lies in restoration of Autonomy. And we will again go to people with the same political roadmap.”
Asked about Delhi’s ‘mulish attitude’ vis-à-vis revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from certain areas in Kashmir on experimental basis, Sagar said, “We have no other option but to follow our agenda whether they (Delhi) agree with us or not. Delhi has made our voices weak and meek by fragmenting us. Just to remind you that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had thrice urged former prime minister Atal Behari Vajpayee that Delhi should no lay all its eggs in one basket. Then they (Delhi) created PDP. This is how they started hatching conspiracies to break and fragment us,” the minister for rural development told KNS.
When asked why Jammu and Kashmir government was not able to prevail on union government’s decision to execute Afzal Guru when other states like Punjab and Tamil Nadu prevailed to save killers of Rajiv Gandhi, Sagar said, “Omar Sahib had taken up Guru’s issue with home minister but it could not materialize due to certain unknown reasons. I have told you that they (Delhi) have deliberately and under a plan devalued our voice,” he added.
Asked about the major achievements of National Conference led government since it took reins in Jammu and Kashmir in 2009, Sagar said that NC led government ushered in a new era of peace, prosperity and development. “We were able to restore peace in Kashmir. Development touched new heights as we constructed a major and historic road network in the state. We created infrastructure in colleges and new administrative units which had not seen any development during PDP led government,” Sagar observed.
Referring to the forthcoming elections, he said that pre or post poll alliance with Congress will be decided by the NC leadership in near future. “However, we are of firm belief that National Conference will emerge as a major party in coming elections,” Sagar added.
Asked about any possibility of reshuffle in ministerial council, Sagar said, “It is the discretion of the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. However, if the commission exonerates Sajad Kitchloo, he deserves to be taken into the council of ministers.”
On a question about speculations on timing of removal of restrictions imposed on Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani’s, the NC minister said, “I don’t think there were restrictions on his movement. He was free and would participate in seminars. However, any restrictions imposed on him were decided on the basis of law and order situation. There can be ideological difference with him but he is able to gather people with separatist ideology.”