Two years after the special status of Jammu And Kashmir was abrogated and he was detained for 234 days, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said on Wednesday that after initially being “deeply jaded” he had realised that as a politician he didn’t have the right to “mourn” for long.
On the eve of the second anniversary of the nullification of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, the former chief minister said that what had been done on August 5 had come as a shock to most people who were affected by the “sudden, unexpected and unconstitutional blow”.
Omar, who spent seven months in detention which was challenged in the Supreme Court, recalled, “I was a deeply jaded and disappointed individual. I found it difficult to motivate myself even to indulge in basic political activities possible in the prevailing situation.”
There is no doubt in Abdullah’s mind that the abrogation of Article 370 was unconstitutional which had been challenged as such on behalf of his party in the Supreme Court.
“But as the saying goes ‘if you want the rainbow, you have got to put up with rain’. So here I am doing the best I can for the people.”
“Hundreds of our workers and several of our leaders have fallen to the bullets of militants. I thought of all this when a certain light inside me was getting dimmer during my solitary confinement. I realised I could not just walk away,” he said.
“I have hope and faith in the Supreme Court which had said that they could turn the clock back if merited. I am sure that someday justice will be done to the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” the NC vice president said.
About the claims of substantial improvement in the law and order situation, he said, “You cannot gag the people and then claim all is well. In the last two years people are not allowed to do even peaceful protests. The due process of law is ignored. On the one hand a rosy picture of the situation is painted and on the other hand the Centre tells Parliament that statehood will be restored when the situation normalises.” In any case, the people cannot any longer continue to be deprived of an elected government through free and fair elections in a full-fledged state, Abdullah emphasised.
Omar was categorical that he would not be contesting elections for the foreseeable future.