Nazir Leads NC Charge Against Delhi On Autonomy

Nazir Leads NC Charge Against Delhi On Autonomy

8 January 2013
Rising Kashmir
Nasrun Mir

Srinagar: With Omar Abdullah-led coalition government completing four years in power, National Conference has not succeeded in achieving any major headway in restoration of its lifeblood- Autonomy. The ‘coalition itch’ also seems to be a matter of discomfort in a section of the party. The resentment and helplessness was visible on Tuesday during the NC convention and registration programme held at its Nawa-i-Subh complex headquarters with veteran party leader Sheikh Nazir Ahmad leading the charge against Government of India for ‘reneging on the promises’ made to people of Jammu and Kashmir. “New Delhi has repeatedly cheated us,” said Nazir, who is also the party general secretary. The ailing leader spoke for around two hours before formally starting the party membership drive for Srinagar. “Hari Singh signed the instrument of accession under certain conditions which have been violated by New Delhi,” Nazir said, adding that Autonomy remains the core of the NC ideology and that they will continue to demand the same from the Indian government. Being in politics for decades, the senior NC leader does not hold passport of India and believes that New Delhi needs to fix the wrongs committed in J&K. “We want Delhi to work on the promises made by Pandit Jawahar Lal Nehru (first prime minister of India) here,” said Nazir. NC has nine lakh registered members, making it the state’s largest political party, but the cadre does not appear to be satisfied with the state of affairs and its coalition with Congress. “Four years have passed and you have done nothing for us,” shouted an NC worker amid the chaos that gripped the central hall of Nawa-i-Subh Complex after Nazir’s speech. “What are you going to do now?” the worker asked. Twelve years ago, State Assembly passed the resolution for greater autonomy of Jammu and Kashmir. Farooq Abdullah, the then chief minister, was running a majority government and met little resistance in the House. His son, Omar Abdullah now works with a coalition partner. In his four-year tenure as the chief minister, he has not managed any fruitful debate on his party’s core agenda even though members of his cabinet are hopeful that one day Autonomy will be restored for permanent solution to the lingering Kashmir dispute. NC leaders also blame successive governments in New Delhi for the delay on the issue of autonomy. “If they (New Delhi) think they can cheat NC, it is going to be detrimental for the whole nation in the long run,” said senior party leader, Sheikh Mustafa Kamal over phone. “We will continue our struggle for autonomy and we will have it one day from New Delhi.” Kamal said the resolution adopted by State Legislative Assembly in 2000 is now part of legislature and has become history. In a bid to woo NC back to electoral politics in 1992, the then prime minister of India, Narsimha Rao had said, “Sky is the limit for autonomy.” But nothing has moved in this direction except Justice Sageer committee and interlocutors referring to some parts of it in their reports. Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs, Ali Muhammad Sagar said autonomy’s realization could only happen when India and Pakistan move forward on Kashmir issue. “It depends on how the relations between the two countries move forward, but I must say autonomy is the political agenda of NC,” said Sagar. “We will not compromise on autonomy and we will seek its implementation.”