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Kashmir News: ‘Return of dignity snatched by Article 370 is my concern,’ NC’s Srinagar candidate Aga Ruhullah

Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) leader and former minister, Aga Ruhullah is up against Waheed Para of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in the general elections scheduled in fourth phase on May 13. 

Ruhullah said that his concern in the elections is the return of dignity and rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir that, he alleged, was snatched by the abrogation of Article 370 in August 2019.

“I have been expressing my views for a while without the consideration of any election. My concern is the return of dignity and rights that were snatched from us after Article 370 abrogation,” he said in an interview with the Indian Express. 

Established in 1962, the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat has been a JKNC stronghold. The Farooq Abdullah-led party has won 10 out of the 13 Lok Sabha elections so far. The only national party to win a Lok Sabha elections in Srinagar, until now, is Congress, which bagged the seat way back in the 1996 elections. JKNC President and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah won the Srinagar seat by polling 57 per cent votes in 2019 election.

Also Read: Kashmir News: In first Lok Sabha election post Article 370 scrapping, BJP not in the fray in 3 Valley seats. 5 points

The Lok Sabha Elections 2024 are the first general elections in Jammu and Kashmir since the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution in August 2019 by the BJP-ruled centre that stripped its special status. The government also downgraded the erstwhile state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The JKNC and the PDP, parties in INDIA bloc, are contesting the 2024 Lok Sabha election for three seats of Kashmir valley separately. The two regional satraps supported the Congress party in two seats of Jammu. 

The BJP has not fielded any candidate in any of the three seats of Kashmir valley — Srinagar, Baramulla and Anantnag-Rajouri. 

Ruhullah accused BJP-ruled Centre of denying people of Jammu and Kashmir the democratic right to protest and turning the erstwhile state into an open-air prison . “They created a psyche of fear. When I interact with the public … the only thing I get to hear is, ‘We (people) need you to represent us and speak for what we went through,” he said

Ruhullah said his objective of entering the Parliament was to convey to the country that Article 370 was an article of faith. “Numerically, we cannot change anything in Parliament. But we can try to convey to the country that we are not anti-nationals and Article 370 was an article of faith. We can connect and reach out to the rest of India,” he said.

Also Read: Lok Sabha Elections 2024: ‘Who do we blame for hatred? We, the politicians,’ says former J&K CM Farooq Abdullah

He said people were falsely made to believe that PM Narendra Modi integrated Jammu and Kashmir into India by abrogating Article 370. He also said that Article 370 was the argument of mainstream politicians against separatists and that it defined Jammu and Kashmir’s dignified relation with the Union of India

“The first sentence of the Constitution of J&K is that it is an integral part of India. People also say that terrorism in J&K was because of Article 370. Those who picked guns or had separatist tendencies had nothing to do with Article 370. They rejected the Constitution of India altogether and did not identify with it,” he said

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Published: 11 May 2024, 10:11 AM IST

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