NEW DELHI: Former chief minister of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) Farooq Abdullah, in a passionate interview with few instances of anger, maintained that at this moment the Kashmiris would rather like to be ruled by China than to become a part of India.
The most prominent ‘pro-India’ face in Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah, who heads the National Conference party and had been for the past four decades, also described Kashmiris as slaves who were being treated like second class citizens.
In a 44-minute interview to The Wire, he strongly refuted the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s claim that the people of Kashmir have accepted the August 2019 changes just because there have been no protests.
The soldiers on every street and Section 144 were to be lifted, people will come out in their tens of lakhs, adding that the new domicile law was intended to make the region, a Hindu majority area, which, he said, has further embittered the Kashmiri people
When asked as to how Kashmiris view the BJP government and, in particular, Prime Minister Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah, the minister said they were deeply disillusioned.
They had no trust in the BJP government. The trust that once bound Kashmir to the rest of the country has completely snapped, he added.
Revealing details of his meeting with Narendra Modi roughly 72 hours before August 5, 2019, when the constitutional changes in Kashmir were announced, he said that he had met the prime minister seeking assurances about the continuation of Articles 370 and 35A. He also asked the premier why there were so many troops in the Valley and whether this was because of any perceived military threat.
Abdullah suggested the prime minister deliberately went out of his way to give him the impression the massive increase in troops was for security purposes.
He noted that Modi did not say a word about Articles 370 and 35A. Consequently, Abdullah from that meeting had the impression that the two Articles were not in danger. When asked, he agreed that the prime minister had misled and deceived him.