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Thursday Sep 24 2020
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At the moment, Kashmiris would rather be ruled by China than India: Farooq Abdullah

Farooq Abdullah, a lawmaker and leader of National Conference, speaks to media after his release at his residence in Srinagar March 13, 2020. Photo: Reuters/Danish Ismail/File

NEW DELHI: Former chief minister of Indian-occupied Kashmir (IoK) Farooq Abdullah, in a passionate interview to an Indian publication, has said that at the moment, citizens of Indian occupied Jammu and Kashmir would rather be ruled by China than be 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 the plight of 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 to India's territorial status just because there have been no protests.

"If the soldiers on every street and Section 144 are to be lifted, people will come out in their tens of lakhs," he said, 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, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah, the minister said they were deeply disillusioned.

Read more: India releases Kashmiri leader Farooq Abdullah from detention after 7 months

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.