Alleging that he along with Dr Farooq Abdullah and some senior party leaders were detained after August 5, 2019 as a part of a conspiracy to finish National Conference (NC), former Chief Minister and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah Monday said the charges for detaining him under the Public Safety Act were that he had successfully persuaded people to cast vote and defeat Pakistan’s poll boycott conspiracy.
“Even the Public Safety Act was slapped on me and when the magistrate came at night to deliver me the detention order, he himself was feeling ashamed,” he said, addressing a public rally at Kishtwar. There was an Additional District Magistrate along with an Additional SP who came to me asking me to put my signatures on the order,” he recalled.
“I said I would first read the order and then sign it and as I started reading it, I did not know whether to laugh or cry,” he said, adding the first line in it read, “Omar Abdullah, who keeps meeting people, had prepared them to cast vote and defeat the Pakistan conspiracy to engineer a poll boycott. He also raised his voice against the gun which was a threat to the electoral process. All this proves that he can convince people to follow him.”
“I asked the magistrate what has happened to you? Till yesterday we used to be patted for making people participate in the electoral process and today you have started slapping PSA for it?” Omar said.
Omar told the crowd that he signed the detention order thereafter.
“However, the purpose of detaining us was not only to stop us from meeting the people but to finish our organisation during our period of detention,” he said, adding, attempts were made to engineer defections in the party during the period.
As a part of these attempts, a number of senior party leaders were kept detained even after he and party president Dr Farooq Abdullah were released, Omar added.
Without naming anybody, Omar said, “They had the wrong impression that if we and some of our people remain under detention, the rest of our party will break and the rest of the people will part ways with us.”
“Such attempts started against NC were done in 1945,” Omar said. He also referred to the removal of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah from the Prime Minister’s chair to topple his government after the 1975 accord with then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, to the timely collapse of the Dr Farooq Abdullah government following defections in 1984 and the appointment of a Governor in 1990 making Farooq Abdullah and his cabinet to quit office. “There has been no let up in such attempts even after August 5, 2019,” he said.
“They do not like us as we do not woo people by making false promises and raising slogans through deceit and on the basis of religion and regionalism,” Omar said.
He also slammed the Congress for not supporting the demand for restoration of Article 370. Referring to senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad’s Sunday statement limiting his demand to restoration of statehood and not the special status to Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Even parties whom we expected to speak in support of our demand have been silent.”
Pointing out that Azad says that it is useless to talk about Article 370, he regretted and alleged the senior Congress leader has accepted defeat even before the Supreme Court took up the hearing in the matter. “More than us, Article 370 is the legacy of Congress and it was given by the country’s first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru. If Congress is unable to protect its own legacy then whom can they protect?”
Omar linked Article 370 with the future generations of Jammu and Kashmir and said, “Two and a half years after its abrogation I am compelled to ask what improvement has come about and what has happened to the promised jobs and setting up of industries? How many new universities and degree colleges have been established and has there been an improvement in the power scenario in J&K? On the contrary, the works initiated by us have come to a standstill,” he added.