In first remarks on the attempts at government formation in J&K and dissolution of the state assembly, separatist leader and Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq Friday took a swipe at the National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party, saying “New Delhi has now branded them as anti-national, Pakistani agents and terror supporters”. He said the statement of the parties that they had decided to come together to safeguard Article 370 and Article 35A shows they are “extremely opportunistic” because the “hunger for chair seems to be their only driving force”.
This is the first time separatists have joined the debate over the attempts to form a coalition government in J&K. Sajad Lone’s Peoples Conference was in fact part of the Mirwaiz’s Hurriyat until he decided to contest polls. Lone’s elder brother Bilal Lone is an executive member of the Hurriyat.
“There is a lot of anger here. They are giving it a colour as if they are doing all this to save Article 35A and Article 370…It is they who are responsible for all this death and destruction. They have never made New Delhi accountable for anything. It is merely a fight for the chair,’’ the Mirwaiz told The Indian Express. He said he raised this issue while addressing the Friday congregation at Jamia mosque. “Each day we are burying our young children. South Kashmir has been destroyed… But they don’t care. This bloodshed doesn’t move them. And these three regional parties (NC, PDP and PC) are fighting for government formation,” he said.
“For these parties, the hunger for chair and power made them betray the trust people had placed in them in 1947. They deceived people then onward… What leverage do these parties have before New Delhi to hold it accountable to the constitutional safeguards for J&K that these parties claim they negotiated with them. None. Because New Delhi finds new opportunists among them, pits one against the other… these people keep compromising and yielding ground to New Delhi… things have come to such a pass where our very identity as a people is under great threat,” he said.
He said “there is a pattern how New Delhi has been removing these leaders from the seat of power to place new proxies”.