Some of them termed it a palpable climb-down from the party’s earlier stand on the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
Srinagar: It appears that the National Conference (NC), the oldest political party of Jammu and Kashmir, has softened its stand on partaking in a political process the government is trying hard to initiate to end the unremitting stalemate over the Centre’s stripping the state of its special status and splitting it into two Union Territories (UTs).
The series of statements issued by the party and its leaders over the past few days is being seen by the local watchers as an indication of the “change of heart” among the NC leaders. Some of them termed it a palpable climb-down from the party’s earlier stand on the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution.
The government had during covert meetings with incarcerated politicians during past several weeks urged them to shun “confrontation” over the Centre’s contentious moves and become part of the proposed political process aimed at salvaging J&K from the present crisis and work towards its inclusive growth. The government representatives and senior officials of the country’s premier intelligence agencies were also trying to convince the leaders of the NC and other mainstream political parties including People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and People Conference of Sajjad Gani Lone on the urgency of their lending a hand to the reconciliatory venture “in the interest of the people”.
The NC president Farooq Abdullah, as was claimed by the party sources, had “categorically refused” to talk to any government representative on the matter. Some other incarcerated NC leaders including former chief minister Omar Abdullah had reportedly demanded that the Centre should first restore the state’s pre-August 5 constitutional and organisational positions to pave the way for reconciliation.
However, after the weekend meetings of a 15-member delegation of NC’s Jammu-based leaders and activists with detained Abdullahs here, the party’s provincial president for Jammu Davendra Singh Rana had said that for any political process to begin, the leaders of the party need to be released.
Later, a statement issued by the NC while corroborating Mr Rana had said that no political process in the state could take place until and unless all political detainees are released and communication facilities including internet and mobile phone services restored.
It demanded the unconditional release also of trade union and civil society leaders and activists, students and children “who have been arrested on false grounds.”
These statements caused many eyebrows locally as many people saw these evocative of NC’s climb-down from its earlier stance on the abrogation of Article 370. Following deprecation in local political circles, the NC’s Lok Sabha member from Anantnag Hasnain Masoodi has ruled out political participation by the party at a time when its entire leadership is under detention.
“It is preposterous to talk about any kind of political process at this juncture when the entire leadership of the NC and all other political parties like the PDP and leaders like Sajad Gani Lone and Shah Faesal have been detained,” Mr Masoodi who was among the party leaders who met Abdullahs said. He accused the government of “inciting people to resort to violence and stone pelting by not appreciating the dignified and non-violent response shown by the people of Kashmir after the abrogation of Article 370.”