The National Conference (NC) has taken exception to media reports about party chief Farooq Abdullah having said that Article 370 of the Constitution in the Kashmir valley can be restored only with the help of China.
In an interview with India Today on Sunday, Abdullah had said that the months-long tension with China near Ladakh along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) was a result of the Centre’s decision to abrogate Article 370 last August. China has not accepted the decision to split the region into Union Territories by ending the semi-autonomous status that was accorded to Jammu and Kashmir under the Article, he said.
“As far as China is concerned, I didn’t bring (the) Chinese president here. Our prime minister invited him to Gujarat and even did jhoola sawari with him,” Abdullah said in the interview. “He (Modi) even took him to Chennai and had food with him.”
He said China “never accepted” the abrogation of Article 370. “They said till you restore Article 370, we won’t stop because it has now become an open issue.
“May Allah wish that our people get help from their might and our Articles 370 and 35-A get restored,” Abdullah is quoted as having said.
Rubbishing the report, the National Conference said Abdullah was only expressing the people’s anger caused by the abrogation. He has all along criticised the decision, a party spokesperson said. “He only wanted to emphasise that no one in Jammu and Kashmir accepted these changes,” the spokesperson said.
The BJP termed the statement attributed to Abdullah as seditious. He has been a former chief minister and is a sitting MP. :Despite this, he said in an interview that Article 370 should be installed with the help of China. He is justifying the expansionist moves of China,” party spokesperson Sambit Patra said.
“If you have reservations about the democratic process you’re allowed to talk about it but to say that you will join hands with another country to reinstall something is condemnable. This is also seditious,” he said, according to the Hindustan Times.
The National Conference, however, said Patra is known to “twist” words. “Dr Abdullah never said that together with China we will bring back Article 370 as Mr Patra has claimed,” the party’s spokesperson said.