Ishfaq-ul-Hassan | India Tomorrow
SRINAGAR—Seemingly feeling dejected, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah has urged Supreme Court (SC) to begin hearings on the petition challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and “let the weight of arguments make up their minds”.
“It is not like the SC is not working at all. We have seen the SC take cognizance of what is happening with the farmer protests and step into those. If the farmer protests can invite the attention of SC and their observations can include words that `this did not seem to include any consultation’. Then there was no consultation with J&K before what happened on August 5, 2019. By the same yardstick of consultation, the SC needs to step in with what happened in J&K and start hearing us out and let the weight of our arguments make up their minds. The best outcome would be that SC says that what happened in J&K was unconstitutional, illegal, and roll it back,” Omar told a national newspaper in an interview.
Omar said the SC had said that they can turn the clock back when they admitted the petition challenging the August 5 decision.
“So, I have to trust the Supreme Court when they say that they can undo it. My own sort of limited sense of intelligence tells me that you will reach a point where it will be impossible to undo some of the changes that have been done. The time will end up being of the essence. You cannot have an indefinite period of domicile being changed or land laws having being affected or a cadre of J&K administrative services and police officers being changed or forest service officer being changed and similar changes being put into place and then turn around and say all this can be undone. Because somebody will say so much water has flown in the Jhelum that we will not have to accept this as the new reality which is not what we are willing to accept,” he said.
Omar said they have taken the fundamental fight to the supreme court. “Everything that this government is attempting to do is under the umbrella of what was done on August 5, 2019. Instead of trying ourselves up in little battles, we want to fight the main one which is to call into question the legality of everything that is happening because of what happened on August 2019,” he said.
The former chief minister said there was no consultation with Prime Minister Modi when he and his father Dr. Farooq Abdullah met Modi days ahead of abrogation of Article 370. “We were not told that two days hence the Parliament was going to remove Article 35 A and completely dismember Article 370. If that had been told to us, obliviously we would have considered that as consultation and put our point of view before the PM. There were a lot of rumours at that time and we went to PM to request him to ensure that nothing untoward was done to J&K that would impact the tenuous calm on the ground. PM said he does not want to see an unsettled J&K and he wants a calm J&K in which democracy prevails. My interpretation of what he said was flawed. I took that to mean that nothing untoward was going to happen in J&K in the next few days. I was wrong,” he said.
Omar expressed total dissatisfaction with Opposition parties. He said that unless the Opposition is drastically overhauled and “the way we are doing opposition in this country, even 2024 is looking like a done deal. And that’s not a prospect that is comforting to a lot of us”.