Former Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) chief minister and National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah, while reiterating his opposition to the constitutional changes in J&K, particularly the effective nullification of Article 370, spoke about how China has opposed the changes too. He, then, added that, “May Allah wish that our people get help from their might and our Articles 370 and 35-A get restored.”
This is a deeply disturbing statement from a leader who has served as a Union minister, a three-time chief minister, and a long-standing parliamentarian in both the Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha. The change in Kashmir is purely an internal matter of India. This newspaper has been critical of the Centre’s actions in Kashmir — particularly the detention of leaders and curtailment of liberty — and asked for a restoration of political normalcy. But this battle must be fought within the Indian constitutional and political scheme, through agitation, public opinion-building, political alliances and judicial recourse.
To turn to a foreign power — which is at the moment an aggressor and has undermined India’s territorial integrity and sovereignty — is wrong and unwise. Mr Abdullah’s statement will deepen the mistrust that exists about Kashmir’s leaders among citizens elsewhere in the country. It will galvanise a nationalist backlash — and it is no surprise that the Bharatiya Janata Party has termed his remarks “seditious”. And it will erode the moral standing and political authority of Kashmir’s democratic parties. Mr Abdullah may be speaking out of pain and anger, but he would do well to revise his stand.
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