Good start... will keep up struggle to restore 370: Omar Abdullah | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Good start... will keep up struggle to restore 370: Omar Abdullah

By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Jun 26, 2021 02:45 AM IST

"We will continue with our struggle to see it restored, constitutionally, legally and politically,” Omar Abdullah said on restoring Article 370.

National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Friday said that his party will continue to push for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status but didn’t expect Prime Minister Narendra Modi to return it because it was the latter’s government that decided to scrap it in 2019.

Omar Abdullah emphasised that full statehood to J&K needs to be restored in its entirety.(ANI)
Omar Abdullah emphasised that full statehood to J&K needs to be restored in its entirety.(ANI)

Abdullah’s comments came in an interview to HT, a day after attending a landmark meeting of J&K politicians with the Centre.

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Article 370, which bestowed special status to J&K but was controversially voided in August 2019, was brought up by several leaders at Thursday’s meeting, which marked the resumption of political engagement in the region after two years. But Abdullah said he will not raise the issue before Modi just “for the sake of optics”.

“We are not pandering to optics and we are not asking the Prime Minister to return it and they have given no such indication. We pick our battles. We will continue with our struggle to see it restored, constitutionally, legally and politically,” the former chief minister said, one day after the all-party meeting.

Petitions by several political parties, including the NC, demanding restoration of Article 370 are pending before the Supreme Court since 2019. “The restoration of Article 370 is very much part of our political discourse and is an important ongoing issue for us,” Abdullah said.

“We will continue to raise it for however long it takes, 70 weeks, 70 months, or 70 years.”

He emphasised that full statehood to J&K needs to be restored in its entirety. “It was made clear in the meeting that statehood means full statehood with all powers that were available to us earlier and are available to all other states now. We don’t want truncated statehood,” Abdullah said.

On August 5, 2019, sweeping changes saw J&K’s special status revoked and the region bifurcated into Union territories. Its officer cadre were done away with.

Abdullah said the meeting with the PM was a step forward, and that he welcomed it. He pointed out that there were no preconditions on what could or could not be said in the meeting but he was clear about his political goals. “There is no question of surrendering our ideology. I have not surrendered my identity, my political ideology or my thought process,” he said.

The meeting was attended by 14 J&K leaders and also touched upon the ongoing delimitation exercise to redraw poll constituencies, grassroots democracy, development goals and preventing loss of life. All parties said the talks happened in a cordial atmosphere.

Abdullah said he was neither overly optimistic nor overly circumspect about the event. He said he would move forward with a “healthy dose of realism”.

Asked if the invitation for the meeting acknowledged the fact that the Centre could not move ahead without the support of the region’s mainstream parties, Abdullah said, “I don’t want to blow my own trumpet. A year ago, nobody would have put their money on such a meeting being held.”

“I have always said we are relevant and you cannot wish us away,” Abdullah said.

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