SRINAGAR: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Sunday said the people of Jammu and Kashmir may have to make “sacrifices”, as farmers protesting the new farm laws did, to restore its statehood and special status.
Addressing a convention of the NC’s youth wing on the occasion of the 116th birth anniversary of party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah at his mausoleum at Naseembagh here, Abdullah, however, said his party does not support violence.
After almost a year of protests by farmers, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on November 19 announced the decision to repeal the farm laws passed last year to ease rules around the sale, pricing and storage of crops.
Parliament passed a bill to repeal the farm laws on the first day of the ongoing Winter Session on November 29.
“(The farmers protested for) 11 months, more than 700 farmers died. The Centre had to revoke the three farm bills when farmers made sacrifices. We may also have to make sacrifices like that to get back our rights.
“Remember this, we have promised to get back (Articles) 370, 35-A and statehood and we are ready to make any sacrifice,” Abdullah said.
The NC, however, is not against brotherhood and does not support violence, he said.
The Centre revoked the special status of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and split it into two union territories on August 5, 2019.
On the recent Hyderpora encounter and how the families of two civilians killed in the operation forced the administration to return their bodies, Abdullah said it was made possible because people showed unity.
He demanded that the body of another person, Amir Magray, killed in the encounter also be returned to his family.
“Three innocent people were killed (in the Hyderpora encounter). When people raised their voices, they (the administration) returned the bodies so that their kin could bury them. This is what unity can do.”
“But the body of one person has still not been returned to his family. How many innocent people would they have killed this way? We will hold them accountable. He (God) will also hold them accountable and no one will escape that,” the NC chief said.
Referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remarks that tourism has increased in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370, Abdullah said “as if tourism is everything” when it comes to the union territory.
“You had promised 50,000 jobs, where are they? Rather you are terminating our people. Were there no people for employing in the (Jammu & Kashmir) Bank that you got people from Punjab and Haryana? “Where will the boys and girls from J&K go? But if we raise our voices, they are crushed. The media is facing pressure, they (journalists) are summoned to police stations if they write anything against (the government). And they (government) say there is freedom,” he said.
Abdullah asked NC workers to remain united and hold the party flag high.
“Many enemies will come and try to pull you (away) from the party, be wary (of them). They are roaming around. Do not listen to them and remain with the party,” he said.