Who turned J-K from heaven to hell? asks Farooq Abdullah

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Abdullah, who is at present Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, triggered controversy when he mentioned earlier that “let Kashmir go to hell.”.

New Delhi : Veteran politician and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday, December 12, accused the BJP of turning the erstwhile state “into hell” by downgrading it to a Union territory.

Abdullah, who is at present Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar, triggered controversy when he mentioned earlier that “let Kashmir go to hell.”.

However, as the controversy started playing on various news channels, Abdullah clarified by posing questions to the BJP and accusing the party of turning heaven on earth into hell.

The BJP has been accusing the Abdullah dispensation and his successive governments of mismanaging the affairs of Jammu and Kashmir, which led to the rise of terrorism in the erstwhile state.

BJP national spokesperson Shehzad Poonawalla reacted to Abdullah’s statement, saying, “After DMK demanding self-determination, now Farooq says this! Merely because SC upheld the abrogation of 370, which has ended the politics of ‘parivarvaad’ (nepotism), ‘pathar baazi’ (stone pelting), and ‘Pakistan parasti’ (support)!

“This is the INDI Alliance’s true face! They want Article 370 back, and they don’t care about J&K at all. Or else the INDI Alliance must condemn this statement,” he wrote on X, referring to the opposition bloc of which the National Conference is also a member.

However, Abdullah, in his clarification, listed several issues, including the downgrading and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir and not holding elections for the last four years.

“I have not set Kashmir on fire. Jammu and Kashmir was heaven. Who turned it into hell? Have we been able to win hearts? If elections can be held anywhere in the country, then why not in Kashmir?” Abdullah asked.

He accused a section of the media of promoting hatred in the country and advised that the media should be used to win hearts. “We have a lot of enemies, and at this time, such a spread of hatred will only weaken us,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Abdullah had said India’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, was not responsible for Article 370, as he expressed disappointment over the Supreme Court’s order upholding its abrogation.

His response came after Home Minister Amit Shah in Parliament blamed Nehru for the Kashmir problem, pointing to the “mistakes” of ordering an “untimely” ceasefire and taking the issue to the United Nations.

Abdullah told reporters, “I don’t know why they have venom against Nehru. Nehru is not responsible. When Article 37 came, Sardar Patel was there.”

“Nehru was in America when the Cabinet meeting happened. Shyama Prasad Mukherjee was also present when the decision was made,” said Abdullah, a former chief minister of the erstwhile state.

In a significant victory for the Narendra Modi government, the Supreme Court unanimously upheld the 2019 revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, even as it ordered assembly elections there by September-end and the restoration of statehood “at the earliest.”.

“The matter was in their hands from the beginning. Let’s see what happens in the future,” Abdullah said, reacting to the verdict.

Asked if the abrogation of Article 370 had ushered in development in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “Go there and see for yourself.”.

“We want elections to be held. We were hoping that if the Supreme Court removes Article 370, they will also ask for elections to be held immediately. They gave time until September; what is the point? On statehood, they said they’d talk about it later. Where is justice?” Abdullah posed.

Asked about India’s claim on Pakistan-Occupied Kashmir, he said, “This decision has to be taken by the government. We have never stopped anyone. We are nothing.” ( with PTI inputs )

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