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SOURCE:  SUNDAY GUARDIAN LIVE

From Abdullahs to Muftis to Sajjad Gani Lone, all mainstream political leaders of Kashmir are trying to keep themselves relevant in Kashmir by trying to distance themselves from the Centre and trying to fill the space of separatists who are silent post abrogation of Article 370.

Farooq Abdullah has travelled a distance from saying that he will rot all separatists in jail, to protesting against the fake encounter of Shopian and alleged custodial killing at Sopore outside the Parliament with placards in his hands showing the pictures of victims. He protested also for the restoration of Article 370, and said that without giving back special status to the people of Kashmir, there can be no peace.

Recently, Farooq Abdullah in an interview said that Kashmiri people do not feel and do not want to be Indian. He even went as far as to say that they would rather be ruled by the Chinese; he repeated it and said that seriously people of Kashmir no longer believe in the Centre.

In his first interview after remaining under detention for more than a year, Sajjad Gani Lone, a former minister, said that mainstream political leaders will have to convince people in Kashmir that they are for them. “5 August was a dark day for me, a day as dark as it can get. I see 5 August as an unconscionable act of betrayal of the Kashmiri people,” Sajjad Lone said in his recent blog. “Hatred apart, the problem is that the ruling class in Delhi seems to have a rudimentary understanding of Kashmir, the history of Kashmir, the secularist perspective of Kashmir, and the geopolitical footprint of Kashmir,” Sajad further wrote in his blog.

Farooq Abdullah, sensing trouble on the ground, said, “Kashmiris are slaves and treated like second class citizens.” He said that the new domicile law was, “intended to flood the Valley with Hindus and create a Hindu majority”.

Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah know that only a united platform by the mainstream leaders will be an answer to the “onslaught of BJP in Kashmir”.