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Why Farooq Abdullah Spoke for Hurriyat, Against NIA Raids

File photo of NC patron Farooq Abdullah. (PTI)

File photo of NC patron Farooq Abdullah. (PTI)

Farooq Abdullah’s support to the Hurriyat leaders, which has been his policy for a long time, is an attempt to put more pressure on the ruling PDP-BJP coalition in the state.

New Delhi: A day before Union Home Minister is to visit Kashmir, Farooq Abdullah, the senior-most leader of National Conference, has made some provocative remarks about the ongoing NIA raids against separatists.

Addressing reporters on the sidelines of a function to mark the death anniversary of his father - Sheikh Abdullah, Farooq Abdullah said,
“I will acknowledge the NIA raids only if something comes out of them. If they are being conducted to harass them, then let me tell the Centre and the NIA nobody here will surrender themselves before them.”

When asked about the detained Hurriyat leaders, Abdullah said, “That is the tragedy. If you have to come and talk to people then those people [Hurriyat leaders] should be released, so that they can talk to him [Rajnath].”

He also said that he had no expectation at all from Rajnath Singh’s visit. “I have no expectation at all. What happened when he came the last time [referring to last Rajnath Singh led the delegation of 26 MPs from 20 parties to J&K]? What happened to the recommendation of the MPs? Nothing happened. I don’t expect anything to now happen.”

Farooq Abdullah’s support to the Hurriyat leaders, which has been his policy for a long time, is an attempt to put more pressure on the ruling PDP-BJP coalition in the state.

The ruling coalition, which was voted to power in 2014, has just crossed the halfway mark of its tenure and is under a lot of pressure from various groups across the state.

Mehbooba Mufti came under a lot of criticism not only for the pellet injuries and death of hundreds of civilians during the post-Burhan unrest, she has also been criticised for not having even begun implementing the agenda of alliance – the policy framework which the two parties laid as a foundation of their alliance.

Farooq Abdullah’s attacks on the centre come at a time when the ruling coalition in the state is getting increasingly isolated, and its presence and influence has shrunk tremendously. The politicians and political workers are still, for the fear of being killed, hiding in Srinagar. Only last month a PDP worker was shot dead in Mehbooba’s own constituency in Anantnag.

And now the biggest threat to the coalition has come in the form of article 35A. This is an issue on which even PDP has drawn clear lines against the BJP. In a conference held in the capital on July 28, Mehbooba said that if article 35A was abrogated, “nobody will be left to shoulder the tricolour in Kashmir.”

Farooq Abdullah, who has batted for making Hurriyat a stakeholder and a partner in dialogue on Kashmir, is, therefore, trying to further corner the PDP-BJP coalition on the arrests of the separatists.

In statements made before, he’s implied that the NIA raids were just exercised to affect the public perception and nothing else. He has also hinted that the NIA raids will only reveal that the separatists were partly funded by the union government.

“I congratulate NIA for its probe on funding of Hurriyat leaders. From where the money has come and how it is been utilised we will get to know that soon. One fact should also be investigated if Indian Government funded Hurriyat or not,” Abdullah had said in July.

Most parties and the Hurriyat have come together on the subject of article 35A because they know that abrogation of the article would also put their political existence in threat. It is in this context that Farooq Abdullah’s recent statements against NIA raids can be looked at. And as the date of hearing, which has been set to some time after Diwali, will come nearer, one can expect Abdullah and other leaders from NC to show greater solidarity with the separatists.