Friday, July 7, 2000,
Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Farooq under pressure to pull out of NDA
From M.L. Kak
Tribune News Service

JAMMU, July 6 — The Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, is said to be under pressure from hawks in the National Conference to pull out of the NDA Government.

Number of Dr Abdullah’s ministerial colleagues and party legislators, besides the members of the Sheikh family, have mounted pressure on the Chief Minister that he should announce party’s withdrawal from the BJP-led NDA Government, according to informed sources.

The Chief Minister had told newsmen in Delhi, soon after the Union Cabinet rejected the autonomy resolution, that the demand for greater autonomy and pulling out of the NDA were two separate issues.

The Prime Minister, Mr Atal Behari Vajpayee, said in Chennai on Wednesday that it was up to the National Conference to decide on whether it wanted to continue in the NDA or pull out from it.

National Conference leaders have treated the crisp statement of the Prime Minister as a “mild affront” which, they feel, should be countered by withdrawing support to the NDA Government and ask Mr Omar Abdullah, Union Minister of State for Industries, to quit.

According to these sources, when the hawks had broached the issue with the Chief Minister, but Dr Abdullah was non-committal.

One thing that has set him thinking is the Prime Minister’s offer for discussion on the devolution of political and financial powers to Jammu and Kashmir without going back to pre-1953 constitutional position.

Dr Abdullah is aware that the NC has four MPs and the withdrawal of support to the NDA would not result in the fall of the Vajpayee-led Government.

The party had taken the decision of joining the NDA simply to feel politically secure in the light of the activities of the dissidents in the ruling party and expected the Centre to give adequate funds for development works to the State.

But the hawks have suggested to the Chief Minister to recall Omar Abdullah. They are for accommodating him in the council of ministers in the State.

PTI adds: A senior Hurriyat leader, Mr Abdul Ghani Lone, has accused the Centre and Dr Abdullah of playing with the sentiments of the people on the autonomy issue and said that Kashmiris wanted something “much beyond autonomy”.

Calling for a meaningful dialogue without pre-conditions, for a permanent solution of the Kashmir dispute, Mr Lone said, “the National Conference, Dr Farooq Abdullah as well as the Centre had never been interested in autonomy for the people of the State. They are using the issue to play with the sentiments of the Kashmiri people". The Hurriyat leader said that had Dr Abdullah been serious about the autonomy issue, he should have sought passage of the Autonomy Bill in the State legislature instead of a mere resolution, claiming that such a legislation could not have been rejected by the Centre.

“The passage of the autonomy resolution was a ploy by Dr Abdullah to postpone introduction of the Autonomy Bill only to use it to hoodwink the people of the State”, Mr Lone told PTI.

He accused the Home Minister, Mr L.K. Advani, of following, what he called, a “carrot and stick” policy on Kashmir. “On the one hand Mr Advani talks of opening a dialogue with us. On the other he talks of using force to suppress us”, Mr Lone said.

Mr Lone, who was the author of the Autonomy Bill way back in 1978 as an Opposition leader during the stewardship of late Sheikh Mohd Abdullah, claimed that changing the nomenclature from Sadar-i-Riyasat to Governor through the Presidential order of 1964 was “illegal”.

The Hurriyat leader claimed that this was so as the State Constitutional Assembly had outlined that Sections 1, 4, 7 and 3 and 5 — which had been amended by Presidential orders of 1954 and 1964 — could not be amended by subsequent legislatures even by two-thirds majority.

The Presidential order of 1954 was proclaimed under the regime of Prime Minister Bakshi Ghulam Mohammad and it extended the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court, Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and the Election Commission to the State and abolished the special permit for entering and leaving the State.

Ten years later, the Presidential order of 1964 proclaimed under the regime of late Prime Minister G.M. Sadiq changed the nomenclature of the Prime Minister to Chief Minister and Sadar-i-Riyasat to Governor.

Mr Lone ruled out participation of Hurriyat in elections in future in the State saying that “we will continue to boycott them as any participation would create more problems for us”.

Declaring that Hurriyat was ready for talks, Mr Lone said it was for this purpose that the organisation had inserted section 2 in it’s constitution saying if the Government of India was not ready to give the people of the State the right to self determination, the alternative course Hurriyat would follow was to purpose talks among all parties to the Kashmir dispute.

Ehsan Fazili adds: Sources in the National Conference opined that a meeting of the working committee of the party would be held in a couple of days. The meeting would be deciding on the future course of action of the party regarding the party’s alliance with the NDA. The Youth National Conference President and the Chief Minister’s son, Omar Abdullah’s continuance as minister at the Centre will be on the agenda. Mr Omar Abdullah has been camping in his home constituency, Srinagar, for about a week now.

Another issue that has been under discussion, the party sources claimed, after the “precarious situation” to the party, is whether to move the Autonomy Bill in the Legislative Assembly.



Vows to continue fight

NEW DELHI, July 6 (PTI) — Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has said that rejection of the autonomy resolution by the Union Cabinet could lead to alienation growing among the people of the state and vowed to continue the fight on the issue.

“I think there is always alienation. I thought, may be, that with this, that alienation will be reduced and gradually finished...(but) I am sure it will grow...that things are done without discussion on that,” Dr Abdullah told Karan Thapar on BBC’s “Hard Talk India” programme to be telecast tomorrow night.

Dr Abdullah said he was sure that the Union Cabinet was “misinformed” on certain points.

Asked whether the “misinformation hype” started by the Sangh Parivar had played a pivotal role in its rejection, he said: “I think it is definitely misinformation because I can’t see them to outrightly reject a thing when they should have talked. If we couldn’t convince them of the things I would have loved that they reiterated it then...then at least we wouldn’t have no misgivings about it.”

Dr Abdullah, however, said the struggle by the National Conference for greater autonomy would continue. “If I had to give up, I would have never started.” 



Three Lashkar militants shot dead

SRINAGAR, July 6 (PTI) — Two Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel and a policeman were injured when militants fired more than six grenades at an ITBP camp and engaged the police in a shootout at two separate places in the Kashmir valley since last evening.

Elsewhere in the valley, three militants and a university student were among five persons killed, while two special police officers were abducted by militants after a shootout in Rajouri district during the period, an official spokesman said here today.

The spokesman said the body of one person was found at Ghat-Chundna in Ganderbal area on the outskirts of Srinagar today. He was kidnapped by militants a few days ago and later killed.

Three militants owing allegiance to Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Toiba were killed in a joint operation carried out by the Army, the BSF and the Special Operations Group of the local police in Kulgam area of Anantnag district in south Kashmir last evening.

Jammu: A top Hizbul Mujahi-deen militant involved in the massacre of 18 persons in Udhampur district was killed in a shootout with the security forces while the police repulsed a militant attack on its post in Jammu region’s Rajouri district since last evening.

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