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Omar challenges Modi to debate on Article 370

Showing no let-up in his tirade against Narendra Modi, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday challenged Modi “to fix the time, date and venue to discuss Article 370, which gives special powers to the state”.

india Updated: Dec 05, 2013 23:04 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Showing no let-up in his tirade against Narendra Modi, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday challenged Modi “to fix the time, date and venue to discuss Article 370, which gives special powers to the state”.

“We are ready to talk to anyone on the subject (Article 370) even if you select Ahmedabad in Gujarat as the venue,” said Omar.

He was addressing a public rally to mark the 108th birth anniversary of National Conference founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah here.

Modi’s remark on the issue had led to a raging debate in political and intellectual circles across the country. Omar criticised the way the debate was being held, saying, “Many people in India who have held and are holding high offices are equally ignorant about the essentiality of Article 370.”

“They connect domicile rights of the people of the state, land grant issues and other similar matters to Article 370. It has nothing to do with these matters,” said Omar.

Taking potshots at the Gujarat CM, Omar said, “You (Modi) should be concerned about the Gujjars of Rajasthan who are struggling for tribal status and are far behind in development. Modi should first know that Muharram is the month of mourning and not celebration.”

Omar also expressed surprise over Modi forgetting Kashmiri Pandits. “Kashmiri Pandits are an integral part of Kashmir and without them Kashmiriyat is incomplete,” he said.

Praising his grandfather, the late Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, Omar said, “Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah saw the only option to seek protection, honour and political dignity of the people of the state by talking to India. This resulted in the Indira-Sheikh Accord,” he said.

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