Omar opposes revoking Article 370

Jammu & Kashmir chief minister vows to strengthen Centre-state ties

Omar opposes revoking Article 370

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday castigated Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders for raising the “false bogey” of revocation of Article 370 of the Constitution which provided special status to the state.

Addressing a public rally after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi flagged off a train service connecting Qazigund and Banihal, Omar said:

“We the people of Jammu and Kashmir categorically tell them that revocation of Article 370 is not possible at all and any attempt by anyone to tinker with this sensitive issue would be over our bodies. During the six-and-a-half-year tenure of the BJP Government at the Centre, it didn’t even once speak on this issue. The BJP only raises the issue of Article 370 when elections are in sight,” he said and challenged the party to touch Article 370, which has reinforced Jammu and Kashmir relations with the Union Government.

He said that the National Conference and the Congress would foil any attempt to weaken State-Centre relations.

Predicting the return of UPA-3 to power at the Centre in the 2014 general election, the chief minister hoped that the prime minister and the UPA chairperson would visit the State again to inaugurate the Banihal-Katra railway link to realise the dream of former prime minister Indira Gandhi to connect Jammu and Kashmir with the rest of the country through railways.

Omar said that there may be some differences on certain political issues between the National Conference and the Congress in the State “but both parties are firm on strengthening the ties between Jammu and Kashmir and the Union of India through Article 370 and nurture the nationalist forces in the State.”

The Chief Minister said the 11 km long tunnel across Pir Panchal to connect Banihal in the Jammu Division with Qazigund of the Kashmir Province has established a physical link between the State and the country.

“It has not only linked the areas and the regions but the hearts as well,” he said.

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