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Article 370 close to our heart but we’ve to be equal Indians: Sajad Lone

02:23 AM May 17, 2024 IST | Syed Rizwan Geelani
article 370 close to our heart but we’ve to be equal indians  sajad lone

Baramulla, May 16: Peoples Conference (PC) Chairman Sajad Gani Lone Thursday said that though Article 370 was close to the hearts of the people of Kashmir, Kashmiris had to be equal Indians.


Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the public rally held in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, Lone said, “Article 370 was always close to our heart and we will never accept its abrogation. But for the time being, we are talking about development with dignity. When we talk about dignity, we talk about the right to dignity of a Kashmiri in the country. We have to be equal Indians and do not want a different set of laws for the youth in Kashmir.”


Earlier, Lone shared the stage with Apni Party President Altaf Bukhari at the PC rally organised at Prof Showkat Ali Stadium Khawaja Bagh ahead of the 5th phase of the Lok Sabha-2024 polls.


Talking to reporters, Lone said that with the massive gathering of people in the rally, PC had shown its power.


“The results of the election will be out on June 4 but the decision of the winner has been taken at the rally here today,” Lone said referring to the large number of people attending the rally. “These people came at 9 am and attended the rally. This is the true power of people.”


Lone sad that there were so many narratives in the market and his opponent and former chief minister Omar Abdullah was doling out a lie every minute.


“We have shown our power today as this was the biggest ever election rally held in the past 30 to 40 years. It was bigger than any election rally even held in Jammu region,” he said.


Lone said that 30 to 40 percent of the people who were to participate in the rally had not been able to reach the rally venue due to traffic jams.

About the change in law and order situation in Kashmir during the past four years, he said, “We do believe that law and order is better here. But I have organised big rallies earlier as well. The only thing is that earlier people would not take it seriously because there was a certain ecosystem which would exclude people and strugglers like me.”

Lone said that today it seemed that there was a level playing field even for strugglers and newcomers to come and fight elections.

“Every party has to show its power before elections and we have shown it today and I am happy,” he said.

About the accusations of having an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Lone said that the people who attended the public gathering had shown that the accusations were not working.

"What do BJP have here? What would they back me with? Somebody has to have some votes to back me? They got some 2000 votes last time! So you think I will take all this nonsense for 2000 votes," he said.

Lone termed the National Conference (NC) a “stooge of New Delhi” saying New Delhi helped them in 1975, 1987, and 1996 when they had the government on the plate by taking advantage of the “rigging in elections”.

"Omar Abdullah is crying about the past ecosystem. He demands why I am allowed to take out rallies and why aren't PC workers rounded up like the way they used to be earlier and booked under the Public Safety Act,” he said.

Lone said that he was the only leader who had seen third-degree torture, was sent to jail and hung upside-down.

He said that instead of targeting him in the election rallies his opponent Omar Abdullah should be defending his party’s 40 years of rule.

“He is a person who has failed his entire life and he should be defending that MPs from his party did nothing for the people of Baramulla. Accusing Sajad Lone is not a narrative,” Lone said.

He said that given an opportunity to represent people in the parliament, he would end the FIR and police verification culture.

“I wish the people of Kashmir live a peaceful life and the government allows them to survive peacefully,” Lone said.

Senior PC leaders Imran Raza Ansari, Nizamuddin Bhat, and Bashir Ahmad Dar also shared the stage.

The PC rally was attended by thousands of people who had come from different areas of the Baramulla parliamentary constituency to show their support to the PC President Sajad Lone, who is contesting from the Baramulla Lok Sabha constituency.