Jammu, May 1
National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Monday attacked the government, saying it is unfortunate that G20 meetings were scheduled in Ladakh and Kashmir but not in Jammu, and slammed BJP leaders for not raising the issue.
He also opposed the settlement of non-locals in Jammu and claimed that the Dogra identity is under threat.
“It is very unfortunate that G20 meeting can be held in Ladakh and Kashmir but not in Jammu. Is Jammu not important? It is sad that not a single BJP leader, even those who chanted ‘Jammu, Jammu, Jammu and Dogra, Dogra, Dogra’ raised the issue. They have taken Jammu for granted believing that it is in their pocket,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a NC function at its headquarters here.
Asked about the public notice issued by the Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board seeking online applications from people, who have migrated to Jammu temporarily or permanently, for allotment of 336 flats under the Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) Mission here, he said, “It shows what we have been saying all the time that demographic change is being brought about.”
“Jammu is going to lose its identity, the Dogra identity is going to disappear and that is what Maharaja (Hari Singh – the last Dogra ruler) fought against. It was not (NC founder) Sheikh Abdullah or our party that brought that (state subject) law in 1927 for job and land protection. He (Maharaja) wanted his culture and identity to remain intact, Abdullah said.
He said if outsiders are settled here, where will the locals go. “They want to vanish this (Dogra) identity and it is very surprising that not a single BJP leader speaks about it. The people from outside will settle here and take our land and jobs slowly,” the NC leader said.
On the April 20 terrorist attack on an Army truck in Poonch district that left five soldiers dead, Abdullah said contrary to the BJP’s claims, terrorism is still alive in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Has terrorism been ever finished? They were claiming that terrorism is finished with the abrogation of Article 370 (in 2019). There is no Article 370 (now) but terrorism is still there,” the former chief minister said, adding that “terrorism had heightened in the region”.
In 2019, the Centre had abrogated Article 370 that granted special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated it into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
He said the killing of the five soldiers is a “shame for us and we regret the loss”.
Supporting casual and need-based workers seeking regularisation, the NC leader said “the world is celebrating labour day and they (the administration) should think about the plight of these workers and how they are running the affairs of their families in the present times of high inflation”.