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Ready to discuss Article 370 in Ahmedabad: Omar to Modi

india Updated: Dec 05, 2013 18:52 IST
Peerzada Ashiq
Peerzada Ashiq
Hindustan Times
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Showing no let up in his tirade against BJP's Narendra Modi, chief minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday challenged BJP's prime ministerial candidate "to fix the time, date and venue to discuss the efficacy and essentiality of Article 370, which gives J&K special powers".

"We are ready to talk to anyone on the subject (of Article 370) even if you select Ahmedabad in Gujarat as a venue for the same," said Omar.

The CM chose 108th birth anniversary of ruling National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah to express anger over the recent remark of Modi made in Jammu, where he sought debate on Article 370 saying "it was anti-women".

Modi's remark succeeded in sparking a debate among politicians, jurists and intellectuals across the country. Omar, however, 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 nature, importance and essentiality of Article 370."

"They connect domicile rights of people of the state, land grant issues and other similar matters to the Article 370, which has nothing to do with these matters," Omar clarified.

Taking a dig at other aspects of Modi's recent speech, Omar said: "You (Modi) should be concerned about the Gujjars of Rajasthan, who are struggling for tribal status and are far behind in development process. Modi should first know whether Muharram is the month of mourning or the occasion of celebrations (Jeshans) and then talk of Shias of Jammu and Kashmir."

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

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

"This was not an easy decision for Sheikh Sahib, but he took it for the interest of the state with a view that he will put it before the people to approve it and he went for polls in 1977 and received complete assent of people," he added.

Without naming any separatist group or any opposition party, the chief minister said the propagandist elements and those nurturing enmity against Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah and National Conference are making attempt at belittling the life-size achievements.

"These elements want youth not to read the chapter of struggle spearheaded by Sheikh Sahib and atrocities and difficulties he faced for the cause of the state and the dignity of people," he added.