Jammu & Kashmir

We are not free people, we are slaves: Farooq Abdullah on situation after 370 abrogation in JK

Srinagar: As Jammu and Kashmir is going to complete two years without statehood next week, former chief minister of the erstwhile state Farooq Abdullah said that GoI “will have to rethink” on Article 370 if it wants the people of Kashmir and not just the land.

On August 5, the Government of India (GoI) abrogated the special status of JK and bifurcated the state into two union territories- Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.

Abdullah, the National Conference chief, dismissed the suggestions that Kashmiris are looking resigned to the changed status, and that the anger among them is subsiding.

“We have seen a lot of tragedies in the state…One great thing we Kashmiris have is we don’t tell what we feel inside…Hatred is much more than you can notice. They won’t tell you. But you send an American journalist, a British or any other journalist who is not an Indian, they’ll tell him more than they will tell you,” Abdullah told The Print.

Asked if he really thought any other government in Delhi would undo what the Narendra Modi government has done, he said the British who ruled for two centuries didn’t realize that one day Jawaharlal Nehru would be putting a flag up on the Red Fort and Bhagat Singh didn’t think that one day his sacrifice would be seen.

“And those people who were tried in the Red Fort, did they ever think? No. But the cry was there that we will see a free country. It will be a country for all of us… That will happen one day here (in Kashmir) also. I may not be there to see it but it will happen,” the report quoted Abdullah further saying.

He added: “If you (Government of India) want the land, do what you like. But if you want the people of Kashmir, you will have to rethink.”

Abdullah, who was detained a day before BJP led GoI abrogated the JK’s special status on 5 August 2019 and was released after seven months, said: “PSA (Public Safety Act) was put on (invoked against) me! Am I anti-India? Am I a Pakistani? Am I a Chinese? That’s a tragedy. I am not a servant of the BJP, I am a servant of the people,” said Abdullah, his voice quivering with rage.

“We have created a situation where those who are pro-India are more or less hated. Delhi doesn’t want to hear the truth. When I met the Prime Minister (last month) I told him frankly that you have no confidence in us and we have no confidence in Delhi,” Abdullah was quoted as saying.

Abdullah, according to the report, also looked back at history to talk about “broken” promises — Nehru’s “plebiscite promise”, P V Narasimha Rao’s “sky-is-the-limit” promise on autonomy demand, Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s “Kashmiriyat, Insaaniyat, and Jamhooriyat”. “Then you (Modi) came. You wiped everything out. We just live. We aren’t free people. We are slaves. That’s what we are.”

Abdullah said that Modi and his government always lied to the people especially Kashmiris, “Modi has always lied. When did you see him telling you the truth? Today when they have got Israeli machines snooping even on your minsters, a judge of the Supreme Court, nearly 40 journalists — even some who are friendly to them, still they lie and say they haven’t done it. So, where is the truth?,” he said, as per the interview.

He added: “If three dynasties looted Kashmir, I should have had many palaces. I should be the richest man on this earth. Am I? Am I anywhere near Ambani or Adani?”

So, where does one go from here? The question drew out Farooq Abdullah’s frustration: “Unless they change their mindset, unless they realise that India is not for one religion… so long as we respect diversity, India will last. The day we disturb this diversity, India will be finished. Yes, the cow belt might remain. The rest will go. A time will come. I may not be there to see it but my children and their children will see it.”

“Where are the promises that they will win the hearts of the people? Do you win the hearts of the people with force, with BSP, CRPF, local police? Where (in Kashmir) is that freedom that you enjoy in Delhi, anywhere else in India?,” The Print quoted Abdullah as saying.

The National Conference chief sounded uncertain about the future course of action. Will he take part in the elections? What if elections are held before the restoration of statehood to Jammu and Kashmir?

The former JK CM believes Kashmir would always remain “a boiling point for India, Pakistan and China”. “We are stuck because the government doesn’t want to move forward. They will have to find a way with Pakistan. We cannot take their land that they have got and they cannot take this Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

When Vajpayee was going to Pakistan, he had called Farooq Abdullah to seek his suggestion. “I said please tell them to keep that and we keep this. We straighten the line and keep this easy mobility between people between two sides — trade and other affairs.”

Since the 1990s, Abdullah has been advocating making the Line of Control (LoC) a permanent border between India and Pakistan, said the report.


Free Press Kashmir is now on Telegram. Click here to Join.
FPK Android App for 2G. Click here to Download.

Click to comment
To Top