Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah was greeted with slogans of ‘Modi Zindabad’ and ‘Har Har Mahadev’ during his visit to Zeestha Devi temple in Srinagar. The temple is considered to be a prominent place of worship among Kashmiri Pandits. Abdullah was visiting the temple to meet Kashmiri Pandits. Soon after the former CM reached the temple, he was surrounded by people who began raising slogans in support of PM Modi.
In 1990s, thousands of Kashmiri Pandits had to flee their homes in the Kashmir valley due to rise in militancy and the community has been trying to find its way back home since then. On May 24, a day after BJP-led NDA Government was voted back to power, Abdullah had pointed out that the Centre cannot scrap Article 35A and Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir. He had also urged the Prime Minister to unite the people of the country rather than “dividing them”.
Speaking to reporters, he had said that the rights of people of the state on Article 370 and Article 35A must be protected and that the people of the state are soldiers of the country, not enemies. “Let him (Modi) be as powerful as he likes, he cannot remove Article 370 and article 35A (from the state of Jammu and Kashmir),” he had said.
In its manifesto for the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls, the BJP reiterated its commitment to repeal Article 370, which gives a special status to the state, and Article 35A, that permits the state’s legislature to define permanent residents. The party had pledged to work to ensure the return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley in its ‘sankalp patra’ or manifesto.