Thursday, June 27, 2013

BJP trying to mislead people of J&K in the name of Article 370: Omar

Banihal: 27 Jun 2013

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday slammed the BJP for raking up the issue of special status for the state saying Article 370 was only a political issue for it to 'befool' the people.

Speaking in the presence of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, Omar did not name BJP leaders but said \"there are some opportunistic leaders who are parroting 370 as they feel elections are near and want to befool the people."

Referring to the 11-km tunnel through the Pir Panjal ranges, which the Prime Minister inaugurated on Wednesday, with Article 370, he said it can be compared with Article 370 which connected our state with the rest of the country.

\"I want to take this opportunity to make a few things clear. They (BJP leaders) come to our land and talk about abrogating our 370. I want to remind them that you were in power for six and a half years, but tell me did you talk about the abrogation in these years. Did you even try?"

\"You (BJP) remember these things only when you are out of power. If you get the reins of power again, which I do not think will happen in next 10-15 years, I don't think you will touch 370, because you know that weakening 370 will be like weakening the relation between Jammu and Kashmir and the country,\" the chief minister said.

BJP has been pressing for the abolition of Article 370 and senior party leader LK Advani had on Sunday, made a renewed pitch for scrapping it.

He warned the BJP that any dilution of the constitutional guarantee would be possible 'only over our dead bodies because we would not allow you to weaken this relationship. This relation has been confirmed by Sheikh Abdullah and the first Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru.\"

He went on to say that National Conference (NC) and Congress are parties with a different political thinking on some issues, but are firm on strengthening this relationship between the state and the Centre.

Omar said the nationalist forces in the state will not be allowed to weaken and they will keep the relation of the state with the country alive.

Omar said as long as NC and Congress are in the state, nationalist forces will not be weakened. \"We would not remain quiet and will try to guard the people of this state and keep alive the relation of this state with the country,\" he said.

Speaking on the importance of the rail link, the chief minister said it will boost tourism, connectivity, trade and commerce in the state.

\"This day is so important for the state and its people, that we cannot perhaps imagine it. There was a day when we used to come here from above these mountains. Then we got the road tunnel and got a little respite."

\"Today, with this rail, the way our life will be changed, we cannot imagine that yet. The rail will help in glorifying this area and this state and its tourism, connectivity, trade and commerce,\" he said.

Showing his excitement, Omar said that he cannot forget the train journey he undertook along with the Prime Minister and UPA chairperson.

\"I have had many rail rides in my life, but perhaps would never forget the journey that I undertook today. I had not thought that I would travel via rail from Kashmir to Jammu or vice versa through Pir Panjal mountains and that too along

with the Prime Minister and the UPA Chairperson.

\"I will never forget this day all my life. Perhaps like those students of Banihal Girls Higher Secondary School who were very happy and excited to ride this train. I cannot express my happiness in words,\" he said.

He said the train will not only connect the areas but also the hearts of the people.

\"We are not only connecting the areas and not just Jammu with Kashmir, rather the hearts of people are being joined. The hearts of people of Kashmir with those of Jammu and the hearts of the people of the state with the rest of the country, with this rail tunnel,\" he said.

He expressed hope that the remaining link of the Kashmir Rail will be completed soon and dedicated to people by the 'new UPA government.'

\"I now wait for that day when God willing, UPA 3 will be in power and Banihal will be connected with Katra through rail and in reality, this dream which (former Prime Minister) Indira Gandhi saw when she approved this rail project. That dream will be fulfilled by UPA 3. I don't know where I would be then, what I would be doing. I cannot say that. But I would wait for that day when you people will come back here, connect Kashmir rail with the rest of the country," he said.
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