Gupkar Declaration Is Our Core Issue, Says Dr Farooq Abdullah

SRINAGAR: National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah finally succeeded in meeting five of his senior leaders at his residence. He plans to keep meeting the other two groups for the next days and hopes the leaders are free so that the political process starts. There are 16 leaders who are under lock and key, he said.

National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah along with senior party leaders addressing a first press conference since the revocation of Article 370 in Srinagar on Thursday, August 20, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

Talking to reporters after the conclusion of the meeting, Dr Farooq said that the objective of the meeting was to see if at all the government permits the leaders to move out of their homes. They have been inside their homes for one year and 15 days, he said, asserting, “Thank God, they did not turn mad.”

Dr Farooq said that once all the leaders are able to come out of their homes, move around, the NC will sit, discuss the situation and decide what needs to be decided. “Our efforts will be that Jammu and Kashmir is a prosperous state and our effort will be to see to take out Jammu and Kashmir unitedly from the crisis it is in,” he said, adding, “KOi Rasta Nikala Jayay”.

Asked about how he sees the prevailing situation, Dr Abdullah said though the media knows better but people live in a miserable situation. “There is no water to drink, businesses are zero, tourism is zero, people are suffering everywhere,” Dr Farooq said. “The security situation is tight and then there is the scourge of virus that is taking a heavy toll on people.”

Dr Abdullah said that once all the political parties are free, they will sit and decide about what has to be done. He termed the Gupkar Declaration the “core issue”, asserting “we are not running away”.

“We will talk on issues once all are out and free,” he said. “That day, when we will have discussions, then we will tell you, what we intend to do.. then you grill on everything.” He said they are not going to be silent. Today’s meeting, he said, was not about the question of statehood and other things. “It was merely to see if our colleagues can come out of their homes,” he said while thanking the court and the God. He said the party had to go to the court and convince the court that the leaders need to move out and talk.

The NC president said that it does not matter if somebody has “weak commitment” – he used the word Kamzour Imaan – while responding to a question about Dr Shah Feasal. “He has gone, then what?” he asked.

Dr Abdullah said he is in constant touch with Mehbooba Mufti who is still under arrest.  “We are also concerned about her,” he said.

Dr Abdulah said though the journalists are free to move around, the press is not free. “I am sure about it that the press is not free but that is the secondary issue,” Dr Farooq said. Interestingly, while concluding his interaction with the media, he apparently lost cool and said: “..I did not know which side you are, this side or that side.”

Asked about the role of the three MPs in the Lok Sabha, Dr Farooq said that he could not go to the parliament. “Did we ever got time to go to parliament, watch when I will go to the parliament?” he said, asserting, Koi Baybasis Nahin Hai (It is not a hapless situation)

Dr Abdullah rejected that no political party in India came in Kashmir support, He said Congress, DMK, even Shiv Sena strongly said that Kashmir was wronged. P Chidambaram, Kapil Sibal, Sharad Pawar  – everybody said it.  “Do not say there is no voice that does not say that injustice has been done to Jammu and Kashmir,” Dr Abdullah said. Somebody asked him about how will Kashmir will wait, Dr Abdulah thundered: “Kashmir has waited for 70 years, what is the problem in waiting for 5 years?”

The four senior party colleagues who attended the meet included party general secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani, Abdul Rahim Rather, Muhammad Shafi Uri. Party’s Members of Parliament Muhammad Akbar lone, Hasnain Masoodi, party Treasurer Shammi Oberoi, Political advisor to Dr  Farooq Abdullah Mushtaq Guroo were also present.  It is pertinent to mention here that the leaders who met with the party president at his residence have been confined to in-house and out-house detention centers post since august last year.

Meanwhile, NC spokesman in a statement said that the meeting was called by the party president following his cognizance of the stand taken by the government in the high court in the Habeas corpus mattes filled by the president and the vice president of the party for securing the liberty of various leaders of the party who have been under illegal detention since august last year. Being mindful of the Covid19 protocol and government advisories, the party president had chosen to call all the incarcerated leaders in batches of four to meet him at his residence.

As part of the programme, five other party leaders including Mubarak Gul, Choudhary Mohammad Ramzaan, Shameema Firdous, Aga Syed Ruhullah Mehdi and Basharat Bukhari who have been under incarceration since August last year have been called by party president at his residence tomorrow, said the spokesman.

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