October 2017 News
NC Shows Strength In Srinagar, Unfurls Party Flag After 15 Years29 October 2017
Srinagar: After a gap of over 15 years, state's oldest political party, National Conference (NC) Sunday showed its might by holding first major political rally of its delegates at Sher-i-Kashmir Cricket Stadium Srinagar where Dr Farooq Abdullah was again elected as party president. The session attended by delegates from across the state started with Kashmiri tarana 'lehra Kashmir ke jande' by Waheed Jeelani. During the course, Dr Abdullah and Omar Abdullah unfurled the party flag, while other senior leaders were seen waving the flag. The entry to the session was through invitation only. Attended by thousands of delegates, the session passed political resolution, economic resolution and raised concern over the present situation and governance of the state and vowed to continue its struggle for restoration of autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir as enshrined in the Constitution of India. 'We continue to strive for the restoration of autonomy and restoration of Article 370 to its original, pristine form, while condemning those divisive voices who are opposed to the sovereign constitutional guarantees extended to the people of the state,' the session passed the resolution. Emphasizing that the dialogue is the only way out, the party said the Kashmir issue should be solved through a sustained dialogue with both internal and external stakeholders, an apparent reference to separatists and Pakistan. While talking about the recent appointment of interlocutor by the central government, the resolution mentioned that 'the recently announced initiative through a representative of the Government of India should have clarity and seriousness of purpose to ensure the sanctity of the institution of dialogue is restored and upheld.' 'We urge both India and Pakistan to initiate a sustained, sustainable and comprehensive dialogue process to resolve all outstanding issues,' it said. The state of Jammu and Kashmir is the 'worst victim of animosity' between the two neighboring countries and has the most to benefit from mutual cooperation and peace between the two countries, the party said. 'It is for this purpose that our party wishes to see the Shimla Agreement and the Lahore Declaration to be rejuvenated to usher the entire subcontinent, especially Jammu and Kashmir, into an era of peace and stability,' it added. The earlier reports about elevation of Omar Abdullah as party president as proposed did not happen. The decision of Dr Abdullah continuing as party president was welcomed by intense sloganeering by the participants. While speaking on the occasion, Dr Farooq Abdullah NC President and former four times chief minister Union Minister on Sunday while referring to New Delhi said 'people of Jammu, Kashmir and ladakh will never raise your slogans till you will not win their hearts,' and cautioned that 'voice of people will not be suppressed by the gun.' 'Kashmir dispute is a political issue and the people of Kashmir will never find peace till this dispute is not politically resolved,' he said. Blaming former governor of state Jagmohan for the migration of Pandits, Dr Abdullah said 'people in the valley are not responsible for this' and appealed the Pandits to return their homes with dignity and without any fear ensuring them that all Kashmiris will give you security. 'NC will never allow government to make separate colonies for Pandits,' he warned. 'Isn't it true that official vehicles were pressed into service to evacuate Pandits from the Valley and escort them to Jammu and other parts of the state. I will tell you that Jagmohan did it so that he has a free hand in dealing with Muslim majority in Valley,' he confessed. In his speech, former Chief Minister and NC working president Omar Abdullah, expressed his grave concern over the distressing situation all around the state. 'The system of governance has gone out of gear. There is no accountability. The administrative and developmental process has come to a grinding halt. The heaven on earth has turned into a hell. The work culture has been thrown to Curfews, Hartals and security crackdowns have become the order of the day. There is more uncertainty now than even before,' Omar said. Angry Omar lashed out at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti for her statement in which she has blamed Omar for making Burhan Wani , a militant. 'Who is responsible for educated youth like Zakir Musa becoming a militant and even security personnel joining the ranks?' Emphasizing on dialogue, Omar said 'New Delhi needs to realise that it has to talk to various stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir and resume the dialogue process with Pakistan if it wants to see normalcy and peace in Kashmir.' Terming PDP as party of U-turns, former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather said every single promise made in Agenda of Alliance between ruling PDP-BJP has been broken without any explanations for such U-turns. Accusing PDP of deceit, Rather said, 'introducing GST in the state inflicted the biggest ever blow to fiscal autonomy of the state. The ruling PDP has once again cheated the people to save their already crumbling chair.' 'The government ignored the apprehensions and concerns expressed by the main opposition parties and all other stake holders. The entire job was done in an unprecedented haste. This is not surprising at all as they had to prove their loyalty not only to Dehli but also to Nagpur,' he said and added that 'GST was introduced in the state with undue haste and in most unwise manner, which added fuel to the fire and in depressing atmosphere the economy of the state is bound to take a nose dive.' While speaking during the session NC's additional general secretary and former minister Dr Mustafa Kamal said, 'the PDP-BJP has completely failed and the situation in the state has completely deteriorated in every aspect. The most worrying aspect remains the unprecedented increase in the number of young, local youth joining militant ranks.' Castigating government on the issues of development as well, Dr Kamal said 'the government is busy in inaugurating projects launched by previous government.' He laid stress on dialogue with all stakeholders and also with Pakistan to solve the Kashmir issue. 'Jammu and Kashmir is not a law and order or security problem,' he said and asked GoI to rectify its past mistakes and fulfill the promises made with Kashmiris at the time of accession. Raising concern over the dignity of women, former minister Sakina Itoo while addressing the delegate session said 'the honour and dignity of our mothers and sisters is matter of great sensitivity and the current atmosphere of harassment and assaults on them is a matter of shame and deep concern.' 'The present government has failed to apprehend the culprits behind the current incidents of braid chopping in valley, Fear is everywhere on roads, colleges and even in homes,' she added. The leaders remembered former general secretary Sheikh Nazir Ahmad and prayed for his departed soul. The session by the NC in the heart of Srinagar, observers believe was held at the time when ruling PDP is facing the heat. 'As killings and pellet victims of 2016 continue to haunt the ruling PDP and the troubled alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is making things difficult for the party, NC's show may have its own effect,' said Abdul Samad, a resident of uptown Srinagar. The general perception is that once known for its soft-separatist credentials, the NC sees a chance to cash in on the PDP's popularity deficit. During the session, the speakers urged workers to strengthen party at grass root level and asked them to be prepared for future challenges.