National Conference Sunday expressed concern over the continued detention of mainstream political leaders in J&K, and decried the extension of Public Safety Act against former chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah as “PSA on the entire mainstream political ideology of Jammu and Kashmir”.
Seeking release of all mainstream political leaders at a press conference in Jammu’s Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan, NC provincial president, Devender Singh Rana, urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “reach out to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, win over their hearts and minds and initiate a dialogue with them”.
Rana said PSA on a five-time former chief minister and Union minister was sad and unfortunate, “especially in view of his immense contribution towards nation-building and sustaining peace, amity, harmony, democracy, progress and development of Jammu and Kashmir during most testing times.”
Rana said former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee, as the leader of the Indian delegation in the UN, had described Dr Abdullah as a patriot, and claimed the extension of his detention was “the biggest setback to democratic polity”, apart from “undermining the contribution of a leader who stood tall in turbulent situations”. The leader said NC’s political philosophy had helped J&K reject the two-nation theory of Mohammed Ali Jinnah and tie its destiny with secular, democratic India.
When his attention was drawn towards the indications given by Lt Governor G C Murmu regarding holding elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Rana said, “So many things are being said by different quarters, particularly about the improved situation in the Valley. If the situation has improved, why the prolonged internet blockade and detention of political leaders?”
When his reaction was sought on repealing provisions of Article 370 and Article 35A, Rana said party workers were not authorised to comment on this as the issue “will be deliberated upon by the Working Committee once the leadership is released”. “Till then, nobody is authorised to dwell upon policy matters,” Rana said.