Offer a positive move: Farooq
13 July 2000
Srinagar: Describing the offer of the Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee, to have a dialogue on autonomy as a positive development, the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah, said today that his visit to New Delhi for the purpose had been delayed in view of the demise of his mother, Begum Akbar Jehan, on Tuesday. Addressing a rally at the ruling National Conference headquarters in connection with martyrs'' day, Dr. Abdullah said the Centre had appreciated the importance of discussions on the vital issue. For his part, he would clear the unfounded apprehensions on autonomy during the meeting with Mr. Vajpayee. ''We do not want to weaken the country but only want the restoration of autonomy,'' he said. The Chief Minister admitted that a countrywide awareness campaign should have been launched after the tabling of the autonomy report in the State Assembly in April 1999 which would have left no room for any misunderstanding. The autonomy report sent 15 months ago to the Centre contained nothing which would weaken ties between the Centre and the State. An ''orchestrated misinformation tirade'' had been launched and a poisonous propaganda was being carried out alleging that it was a step to take away Kashmir from India. The Chief Minister said a brochure on the salient features of the autonomy report would be brought out in various languages for distribution all over the country. The Minister concerned would also visit places to explain the document and dispel misgivings. The demand for autonomy was a deep yearning of the people. He lashed out at the Hurriyat leaders for bringing misery to the people.