Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah just lost three Lok Sabha seats to the PDP. But he’s there heading the troubled state and it is now being said that he has saved face by being forceful in the defence of Article 370. He spoke to Saba Naqvi:
Why do you think this issue has come up now? Is it just an intemperate statement by an MP-minister or is it a considered salvo?
I don’t know. Perhaps the MP never imagined he’d be a minister in the PMO. He may have got carried away. But he has not retracted his statement, only distanced the PM from it. I think there is something more to it. They say they have opened talks with stakeholders. We are one of the stakeholders, but no one has spoken to us.
For those who’d like to revisit Article 370, do you think they would see Israel’s policy towards the Palestian territories as the way to go?
There is an ultra-nationalistic mindset that wants to replicate what Isarel has done in Palestine or China in Tibet or even Pakistan in their part of Kashmir, where they liberally allow people to settle. But that is not the point. There is a deliberate campaign by the BJP to link Article 370 to state-subject laws, created by the Maharaja based on inputs from Jammu, where people were worried about rich Punjabis settling. Even if Article 370 disappears, they can’t get rid of state-subject laws. Only the state assembly can.
What would you say to those who argue that Article 370 is meaningless in the face of huge Indian troop presence in the Valley?
Troops have nothing to do with it. Troops are there because of difficult relations with Pakistan and China. Wars have been fought in my state. Even if Article 370 were to vanish, the troops would remain as long as the international situation remains the same.
You attended the swearing-in of Prime Minister Modi so are you ready to do busness with him? Have you interacted with him and do you have ideological reservations?
His history can’t be wished away but he has been elected by the people and it is in the fitness of things that we do business. I have met him in the past at meetings of chief ministers but have no particular equation. Yes, there was a no-holds-barred campaign against us. We are worried that the special assistance programmes of the Manmohan regime would be withdrawn. Yet we see it as a good sign that Modi invited the Pakistan PM. He did not need to do this. It is the people of my state who suffer the most when there is hostility with Pakistan just as they have the most to gain if relations improve.
Can the J&K assembly be a legitimate replacement for the dissolved constituent assembly of the state?
No, it can’t. I am given to understand that cannot happen. From the side of those who want to revisit Article 370, they can recall a constituent assembly but then the whole point is the accession to India is also open to interpretation and we return to the pre-1947 situation. Even then, you can’t start settling in the Valley unless the state-subject laws are also changed.
We at Outlookindia.com welcome feedback and your comments, including scathing criticism
1. Scathing, passionate, even angry critiques are welcome, but please do not indulge in abuse and invective. Our Primary concern is to keep the debate civil. We urge our users to try and express their disagreements without being disagreeable. Personal attacks are not welcome. No ad hominem please.
2. Please do not post the same message again and again in the same or different threads
3. Please keep your responses confined to the subject matter of the article you are responding to. Please note that our comments section is not a general free-for-all but for feedback to articles/blogs posted on the site
4. Our endeavour is to keep these forums unmoderated and unexpurgated. But if any of the above three conditions are violated, we reserve the right to delete any comment that we deem objectionable and also to withdraw posting privileges from the abuser. Please also note that hate-speech is punishable by law and in extreme circumstances, we may be forced to take legal action by tracing the IP addresses of the poster.
5. If someone is being abusive or personal, or generally being a troll or a flame-baiter, please do not descend to their level. The best response to such posters is to ignore them and send us a message at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT
6. Please do not copy and paste copyrighted material. If you do think that an article elsewhere has relevance to the point you wish to make, please only quote what is considered fair-use and provide a link to the article under question.
7. There is no particular outlookindia.com line on any subject. The views expressed in our opinion section are those of the author concerned and not that of all of outlookindia.com or all its authors.
8. Please also note that you are solely responsible for the comments posted by you on the site. The comments could be deleted or edited entirely at our discretion if we find them objectionable. However, the mere fact of their existence on our site does not mean that we necessarily approve of their contents. In short, the onus of responsibility for the comments remains solely with the authors thereof. Outlookindia.com or any of its group publications, may, however, retains the right to publish any of these comments, with or without editing, in any medium whatsoever. It is therefore in your own interest to be careful before posting.
9.Outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for how any search engine -- such as Google, Bing etc -- caches or displays these comments. Please note that you are solely responsible for posting these comments and it is a privilege being granted to our registered users which can be withdrawn in case of abuse. To reiterate:
a. Comments once posted can only be deleted at the discretion of outlookindia.com
b. The comments reflect the views of the authors and not of outlookindia.com
c. outlookindia.com is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for the way search engines cache or display these comments
d. Please therefore take due caution before you post any comments as your words could potentially be used against you
10. We have an online thread for our comments policy:
You are welcome to post your suggestions here or in case you have a specific issue, to directly email us at Mail AT outlookindia DOT com with the subject header COMPLAINT