‘Will continue to resist, hold back police’
STATE TIMES NEWS
SRINAGAR: In its first meeting in six months, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Wednesday said it has kept all its “options” open in the struggle for the restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir.‘We have not closed any options. We will discuss it as and when they (Centre) invite us (for talks), ‘ PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah told reporters after the meeting at the residence of PDP president Mehbooba Mufti here.It was the first meeting of the alliance since December last year when it met to discuss the results of the District Development Council elections.It was also the first meeting since the People’s Conference led by Sajad Lone, who was the spokesman of the amalgam, quit the alliance earlier this year.The PAGD, after Wednesday’s meeting, named veteran CPI(M) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami as its spokesperson.Asked about speculations about the further division of Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said the PAGD leaders were as much in the dark as the general public.‘We also heard about the rumours just like you do. We do not know but we are steadfast and believe that Allah will protect us,’ the National Conference president said.In response to a question, he said the political parties have challenged various steps taken by the Centre since August 5, 2019, and will continue to pursue the legal option.Abdullah said the amalgam could not do much politically due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.‘We are going through this pandemic and it is a deadly disease. Hundreds of thousands have died due to it. We have to be very careful (and) not contribute in its spread,” he added.Asked if he would resign from Parliament in case the Centre went ahead with further division of the union territory as rumoured, an angry Abdullah said, ‘No’.‘We have to fight this fire by staying inside Parliament. My father, Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, was offered Saudi citizenship by King Faisal when he came to know that he (National Conference founder) would be arrested on his return to India. But Sheikh sahib refused, saying he has to fight the fire by staying in the fire,’ the NC leader claimed.Tarigami said the debate about whether the politicians from Kashmir should go to Parliament or not should stop now.‘We want to assure the people that the PAGD will use every opportunity — even the weakest opportunity — to resist for the people. I also want to assure the people….Never ever misunderstand us, be it people of Jammu, Kashmir or Ladakh. We shall always be on the side of the people,’ he added.The PAGD is an alliance of several mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir. It was formed last year to work towards restoring the special status of J-K, which was abrogated by the Centre on August 5, 2019.According to a Srinagar based news agency GNS, when asked a question on delimitation, Farooq said: “We are in court, in Supreme Court. We are waiting for it. The chairperson of the delimitation commission has been the judge of the Supreme Court and once we get the response, we will take a decision then.”Asked what PAGD was doing politically, the octogenarian leader said, “You yourself know what our condition is today. We have to even meet people with caution as the disease (covid-19) is such, which I also contracted, and I am still recuperating from it. Lakhs of people succumbed to the virus. Today we prayed for peace to all those who died due to it.”“People are being arrested and police is doing this and that. Children are being arrested. I think this should not happen. They don’t even allow people to move as they have raised unnecessary barricades. If walking on road is a democratic right, why bar it?,” he said, adding, “Why are they queuing up vehicles? I will also request the Lieutenant Governor to have attention towards it also and stop this arrest spree. The situation will turn such worse that they would not be able to control the people.”Another issue, he said, was covid-19 disease. “Every sector has been pushed to the brink of disaster. Pick any sector which is not ruined. May it be tourism industry or a small shopkeeper, cart puller or transporter, everyone has been affected. On top of it, there has been hailstorm which has badly affected the farmer,” he said, adding, “What will happen with Rs 1000 per month given to some people? What will happen with it? They (government) need to devise boarder policy for tourism industry or any other sector. They should think that people are not pushed like the son of the master (teacher) who ended life. “He said that government should also give thrust to vaccinate more and more people. “There are places where we have dispensaries by name only without staff. Today when I got opportunity to meet with LG during inauguration of the DRDO hospital at Khonmoh, and Chief Secretary and Financial Commissioner Health was also there, I requested them to devote attention towards far flung areas also and see if there are doctor and paramedical staff there and if they have medicines available,” he said, adding, “If we forget them, there will be same situation which is prevailing everywhere
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