Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah has said he did not expect anything at all to come out of Union home minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Kashmir Valley. “I have no expectation at all. He will come, he will meet as he had done before. He led a delegation of MPs (earlier). What happened to that delegation and their recommendations? Nothing happened and I expect nothing to happen now,” said Abdullah, the president of the opposition National Conference.
According to a PTI news report, He was talking to reporters after a visit to Naseembagh mausoleum of his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah on his 35th death anniversary.
During his four-day visit beginning on Saturday, Singh will travel to Srinagar, Anantnag, Jammu and Rajouri and meet civil society members, leaders of political and social outfits, business leaders and others, a move seen as a follow-up to the prime minister’s Independence Day speech in which he had reached out to the people of the valley.
In response to a question on the arrest of separatist leaders by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) as part of its probe into terror funding, Abdullah said, “That is the tragedy. If you have come to talk to anybody, then those people (separatists) should be released so that they can tell the home minister what they have to tell.”
“It is important that they should be released and they can tell him what is in their minds and hearts,” he said.
Abdullah said he would accept the NIA raids on separatists as “genuine” only if these actions throw up something against them.
“If it is only to harass them (separatists) so that they bow before them (government), I want to tell the NIA and the Government of India that no one here is ready to sell their beliefs,” he added.
On the steps taken by his National Conference for defending Article 35A of the Constitution which has been challenged by an NGO before the Supreme Court, the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar said his party had already prepared a team of lawyers for this purpose.
“I have also spoken to the lawyer. We will have a good representation of lawyers who will defend Article 35A,” he said.
Article 35A provides special rights to permanent citizens of the state.
On the killing of journalist-activist Gauri Lankesh in Bengaluru, Abdullah said it was the most tragic event “for us all who want to defend democracy, who want to defend against the communal tendencies that are emerging in the country.”
On the Rohingya issue, Abdullah said, “It is the most tragic event of the century where innocent people are being eliminated because of their religion. I want to raise this question to the United Nations Human Rights Commission — What are they doing? Do not they see the murder of democracy and humanity?”
“I would request Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi that she must work very hard to save these (Rohingya) people who are part of her country,” he added.