Upset over the downgrading of Jammu and Kashmir to the status of a Union Territory following the abrogation of Article 370, former chief minister Omar Abdullah says he will not contest assembly elections till full statehood is restored. However, Omar, a former Union minister in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government, made it clear he would continue to work for his party the National Conference (NC) and the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
Former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Tuesday took to Twitter to say that he has not demanded statehood to be restored for Jammu and Kashmir but said that having been the Chief Minister of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, he will not contest an Assembly election in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar dared journalists and commentators to show him where he had demanded restoration of statehood for J&K.
In a series of tweets, Omar said: “I have no problem being disagreed with for what I say or do but when you invent things and put words in my mouth to attack me, then that’s more about you than about me. All you lazy journalists and commentators please show me where I have demanded statehood be restored.”
“I have simply said that having been CM of the state of J&K, I will not fight an assembly election to the assembly of the UT of J&K. That’s it. No more no less! That’s a far cry from saying I’m demanding statehood be restored,” he said.
In another tweet, Omar Abdullah said, “Haters will hate and nothing will change that. There are few people I expected better but disappointment is part of politics and one has learnt to live with it. Life goes on.”
The tweets came a day after Omar Abdullah broke his silence for the first time after the abrogation of Article 370 last year, by reportedly saying that he won’t contest Assembly elections till statehood is restored and that there was no constitutional, legal or economic justification for what was done to J&K on August 5, 2019.
Meanwhile, National Conference leader Ruhullah Mehdi has resigned from the post of chief spokesperson of the party. Mehdi said in a tweet: “I have sent across my resignation from the post of chief spokesperson of JKNC. From here on my statements should be considered as such.”
Meanwhile, the Centre informed the Supreme Court that it will verify reported statements made by BJP leader Ram Madhav and Jammu and Kashmir’s Lt Gov G.C. Murmu in connection with the restoration of 4G internet services in the Union Territory.
A bench comprising Justices V. Ramana, R. Subhash Reddy and B.R. Gavai then adjourned, to August 7, the hearing on the contempt plea filed by NGO Foundation for Media Professionals. The Centre had sought time to file a reply to the rejoinder affidavit of the NGO.
Solicitor General Tushar Mehta, representing the J&K administration, told the bench that he has received the rejoinder on the Centre’s counter-affidavit, where it said the special committee has decided that there will be no 4G internet in the region for now and the situation will be reviewed after two months.
Senior advocate Huzefa Ahmadi, representing the NGO, did not oppose Mehta’s submission seeking time to file a reply.
The petitioner’s counsel contended before the bench that there is a media statement by the Lt Gov regarding restoration of 4G Internet services.
After the Centre revoked Constitution’s Article 370 last year, high-speed Internet service in the region was also suspended.
Attorney General K.K. Venugopal, representing the Centre, contended before the bench that the statements would have to be verified.
As the bench listed the matter on August 5, Mehta urged it to list the matter on some other date as the internet restrictions were imposed on August 5. The bench accepted Mehta’s request and posted the matter for further hearing on August 7.
The NGO has moved the apex court seeking initiation on contempt proceedings against the Union Home Secretary and Chief Secretary of J&K for not complying with the top court order on May 11.
The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) had informed the Supreme Court that the special committee constituted to look into the issue of restoring 4G internet in Jammu and Kashmir decided against resuming the services.
In an affidavit filed last week, in response to contempt petition against the Jammu and Kashmir administration, it said: “Based on a considered and wide-ranging assessment of the prevailing situation in this sensitive region, the committee arrived at a decision that no further relaxation of restrictions on internet services, including 4G services, could be carried out at present.”
The MHA said the next review by the special panel will be carried out after two months. The affidavit, however, said that the situation will be regularly reviewed by other competent authorities, and if there is an improvement in the security situation, appropriate action will be taken accordingly.
On July 16, a bench headed by Justice Ramana directed the Jammu and Kashmir administration and the Centre to respond on the allegations of contempt raised against it in a petition by the NGO.
The petitioner moved the apex court seeking action against officials for allegedly defying the court’s order on the constitution of a special committee to review the internet restrictions. The bench had noted the decision on the services should have been put in the public domain. (IANS)