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SOURCE: THE KASHMIR WALLAH

National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah has said that at this moment Kashmiris do not feel and do not want to be Indian, adding that they would rather be ruled by the Chinese.

Dr. Abdullah also said Kashmiris are slaves and treated like second class citizens. In an interview to senior journalist Karan Thapar for The Wire, Farooq Abdullah, the president of the National Conference and a former three time chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said it was complete rubbish for the Bharatiya Janata Party to claim that the people of Kashmir have accepted the August 2019 changes just because there have been no protests.

Mr. Abdullah said if the forces personnel on every street and Section 144 were to be lifted, people will come out in their tens of lakhs. He told The Wire that the new domicile law was intended to flood the Valley with Hindus and create a Hindu majority. He said this has further embittered the Kashmiri people.

Mr. Abdullah also revealed details of his meeting with the Prime Minister roughly 72 hours before 5 August  2019 when the constitutional changes in Kashmir were announced.

He had met the Prime Minister seeking assurances about the continuation of Articles 370 and 35A. He asked the prime minister why there were so many troops in the Valley and whether this was because of any perceived military threat.

Mr. 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 said Modi did not say a word about Articles 370 and 35A. Consequently, Mr. Abdullah emerged from that meeting believing the two Articles were not in danger.

Mr. Abdullah told The Wire, that in August 2019, when the constitutional changes were suddenly announced, the National Conference and all other mainstream political parties stood badly discredited in Kashmiri eyes. Speaking of himself he said he seemed to have fallen between two stools. The Centre viewed him as a traitor and arrested him. Kashmiris, on the other hand, saw him as a servant of India and said things like this ‘serves Abdullah right’. They chided him and taunted him for having said “Bharat Mata ki jai.” This left him deeply shaken and upset.

Mr. Abdullah told The Wire that in the greater interest of Kashmir the Mufti and Abdullah families have buried their past differences and come together. He said, today, Mehbooba Mufti was politically close to both his son Omar and himself. He said that he was in touch with her frequently, every week.

In one of the more angry moments of the interview, Mr. Abdullah asked why Mehbooba Mufti has not been released. “Is she a criminal?” he thundered.

Asked if her incarceration has begun to affect her, Mr. Abdullah asked a question in return: “How can it not? She is a human being after all.”