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Disappointed, but struggle will continue: Omar Abdullah on Art 370 verdict

December 11, 2023 17:44 IST

National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah on Monday said he is disappointed but not disheartened by the Supreme Court verdict upholding the Centre's August 5, 2019 decision to abrogate Article 370, which bestowed special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir.

IMAGE: National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah addresses a public rally, in Kulgam, Jammu and Kashmir, December 9, 2023. Photograph: ANI Photo

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said it took the Bharatiya Janata Party decades to abrogate the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution.


"We are also prepared for the long haul," he said in a post on 'X'.

Abdullah, who put out multiple posts, also apologised to the people of J-K and Ladakh.

"Disappointed but not disheartened. The struggle will continue," he said.

The NC leader referred to a couplet of the famous poet Faiz Ahmad Faiz to signify that hope should not be lost.

"Dil na umeed tou nahi, Na kaam hi tou hai, Lambi hai gham ki shaam, Magar shaam hi tou hai (my heart is helpless, but doesn't mean it is hopeless, the evening of sorrow is long, but it is just an evening)," he said.

While upholding the government's decision on Article 370, a five-judge bench of the Supreme Court also directed that statehood to the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir be restored at the earliest and said steps should be taken to conduct elections to the Assembly in the Union Territory by September 30 next year.

Omar Abdullah's son Zamir Abdullah said the Supreme Court's judgment had failed the people.

"When all else fails, people look up to the highest court of the land to protect and uphold their rights. With heightened hopes the people of Jammu and Kashmir knocked at the doors of the Hon'ble Supreme Court to do right by them," Zamir said in a series of posts on 'X'.

"It is with a heavy heart that I say that the Hon'ble Court with its Judgement today has failed the people," he added.

In a broadcast on 'X', Omar Abdullah apologised to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for failing to convince the apex court to restore Article 370.

"Unfortunately, we could not convince the five judges and for that, ... I apologise to the people of J-K, Ladakh and those in the country who wanted us to succeed," he said. "Our efforts will not end here," the NC leader added.

"I am in Srinagar at my home and addressing you because the gate has been locked and I am not being allowed to meet anyone...," Abdullah said.

"We were not expecting a decision like this. We knocked on the doors of the judiciary because we were hoping for justice. I am satisfied that perhaps we could not have done anything more. I do not think our lawyers Kapil Sibal and Gopal Subramanyam could have done anything better...," he added.

Abdullah said the NC would consult lawyers to see if there was any possibility to take a further legal course. Apart from the legal fight, there will be a political and constitutional fight which will be fought within the ambit of law, he added.

Referring to the apex court's earlier decision on the issue, Abdullah said in the case of Sampat Prakash and others, it gave a totally opposite decision.

"It had said then that Article 370 is permanent and it cannot be revoked after the end of the constituent assembly. Today, a five-member bench changed the three-member bench's decision. There is a possibility that some other bench might change this decision tomorrow," he said.

Abdullah said a time would come when the people of J-K would get back what was taken from them. "If not today, then in the times to come, there will be a situation in the country that we will be able to get back our lost identity, dignity and whatever was taken away from us on August 5, 2019," he said.

"Our hearts have been hurt and we regret it, but our efforts will continue," the NC leader added.

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