Now, Farooq raises plebiscite issue

Says Article 370 permanent till right to self-determination not franchised

Azhar Qadri

Tribune News Service

Srinagar, April 9

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who is contesting the Lok Sabha poll from the Srinagar constituency, on Tuesday raised the issue of plebiscite and said Article 370 was permanent till the right to self-determination was not franchised.

He said the people of the state were seeking a political solution to the Kashmir issue as he, for the first time in recent years, raised the question of plebiscite.

“The accession was done on three conditions that defence, foreign relations and communication (will remain with the Union). All other things were kept with people till plebiscite is not done,” he said while addressing an election rally in the city on Tuesday.

The former CM also linked Article 370, which guarantees the state’s special status, with plebiscite, the United Nations’ promised vote for the people of J&K to decide whether to merge with India or Pakistan. “Plebiscite is temporary, yes it is, but till you do not go for it, Article 370 is permanent,” Farooq added.

It is rare for a mainstream political leader and a former Chief Minister to raise the issue of plebiscite, which is the cornerstone of the separatist politics. However, the campaigning for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, which begins from Thursday, has seen politicians in the Kashmir valley strongly advocating the soft-separatist agenda.

“We don’t want anything from you. We want you to solve our issue. This state should have a political solution and it is still pending with the United Nations,” Farooq added.

The NC chief said he does not do double speak, he has said it in the Parliament and was repeating it in Srinagar that accession was conditional. “Farooq Abdullah will die one day but these things will not die,” he added.

RELATED Farooq’s phone restored, snapped