Omar talks tough on Art 370 revocation

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 6/26/2013 11:09:37 PM

‘Over our dead bodies’

BANIHAL, Jun 26: The Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today castigated BJP leadership without naming anyone of them for raising the false bogey of revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution of India providing for special status to Jammu and Kashmir. He added that BJP developed a trait to deceive the people on this issue as soon as elections drew nearer.
“We the people of Jammu and Kashmir categorically tell them that revocation of Article 370 is not possible at all and any attempt by anyone on this sensitive issue would be on our dead bodies,” he asserted. He said that during the six and a half year tenure of BJP government at the Centre, it had not even a single time talked about this issue. “BJP only raises the issue of Article 370 when elections are round the corner,” he said and challenged this party to dare to touch Article 370 which established Jammu and Kashmir’s relations with the Union of India. “You have to do it on our dead bodies,” he lamented and said that the National Conference and the Congress would foil all attempts to weaken the state-Central relations.
He was speaking at a function after inauguration of Banihal-Qazigund Railway Tunnel and Line by the Prime Minister, Dr Manmohan Singh in presence of UPA Chairperson, Sonia Gandhi, Governor N N Vohra, Union Minister for Railways, Mallikarjun Kharge, Union Minister for Health, Ghulam Nabi Azad, president Pradesh Congress Committee and Parliament Member Prof Saif-ud-Din Soz.
The Chief Minister said that the relations between Jammu and Kashmir and Union of India had been established through Article 370 by the then Prime Minister of Jammu and Kashmir late Sher-i-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah and Prime Minister of India late Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru. He said NC and Congress would work jointly to further cement and strengthen these relations.
Omar said that there might be some differences on certain political issues between National Conference and Congress in the state but both parties were firm to strengthen the ties between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India through Article 370 and nurture the nationalist forces in the state. “We would work together to cultivate and strengthen the nationalism and nationalist forces,” he maintained and said that both these parties would not be browbeaten by any threat or challenge on this count.
Stating that Article 370 established Jammu and Kashmir’s relations with the Union of India constitutionally, the Chief Minister said that the 11.9 kilometre long tunnel across Pir Panchal to join Banihal of Jammu division with the Qazigund of Kashmir province, established the physical relation of the state with the country. “It has not only linked the areas and the regions but the hearts as
well,” he said.
The Chief Minister said that the linking of Banihal with Kashmir through railway opened new vistas of tourism, trade and commerce besides enhancing opportunities of jobs and economic activities for the people living here. He said it would also open up this area for all round development. “Today is a historic occasion for the people of Jammu and Kashmir who had always thought of travelling across Pir Panchal through railway,” he said adding that in his childhood he also envisioned this dream.
The Chief Minister expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and Sonia Gandhi for inaugurating the railway line and flagging off train from there. He described his travelling in the first train across Pir Panchal with Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson along with students of Banihal Higher Secondary School as a historic event in itself.
Omar predicting the return of UPA-3 in power at the Centre after general elections in 2014 expressed the hope that both Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson would come again to the state to inaugurate the Banihal-Katra railway link to realise the dream of late Indira Gandhi to connect Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country through railways.
J&K Ministers Abdul Majid Wani, Vikar Rasool, Parliament Members Ambika Soni, Dr Mehboob Beg, Chowdhary Lal Singh, Deputy Speaker, Mohammed Sartaj Madni, Legislators, Chairman Railway Board, Vinay Mittal and senior officers from Centre and State were present on the occasion.

 

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