Sunday, May 28, 2023
Support Our Journalism
HomePoliticsWhy Abdullahs, Mehbooba are silent on Article 370 and what it means...

Why Abdullahs, Mehbooba are silent on Article 370 and what it means for Kashmir politics

There's been no word on Article 370 from Farooq and Omar Abdullah, released from detention, or Mehbooba Mufti, who is otherwise vocal on Twitter. Analysts say they must make position clear.

Text Size:

Srinagar: It’s been more than a month since former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers and National Conference leaders Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah were released from detention, but they have remained silent on the scrapping of Article 370 by the Narendra Modi government last August.

Mehbooba Mufti, president of their rival Peoples Democratic Party and also a former chief minister, is still in detention, but keeps giving out her views on issues through her Twitter account operated by her daughter Iltija. And yet, there’s no word from her on the move to scrap Jammu and Kashmir’s special status either.

Political observers interpret this silence from the two big parties in the Valley as their readiness to recalibrate their politics according to the post-370 reality.

The observers say the parties will soon have to make a decision on whether to focus on the demand that J&K’s special status be returned, or move on.

Also read: I’m free, I’m free… but freedom is not complete, says Farooq Abdullah after PSA is revoked

NC’s stance

Kashmir’s oldest party, National Conference, is the only regional power whose top leadership (except general secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar) has been released. The party did take strong stands on issues that cropped up in the last month, such as restoration of high speed internet, release of detained politicians and others booked last year, the controversial domicile law introduced by the Centre, and the criminal cases filed by police against Kashmiri journalists.

However, it hasn’t said a word about the future course of action on Article 370.

“Political activity has been suspended in J&K, but talking has not been suspended. No one expects political parties to hold protests or rallies given the (Covid) crisis, but they should have stated their position clearly,” said Dr Noor Ahmad Baba, political analyst and professor at the Central University of Kashmir.

“The regional powers, particularly the NC, whose leadership has now been released, could have easily mentioned their position on abrogation of Article 370 and what the party plans to do now after being almost paralysed since August. It is almost as if they have accepted surrender as a condition to be released.”

However, NC leader Salman Sagar defended his party, saying: “Ideally, after the release (of party leaders), we should have met the public and sought their opinion on what to do in future. But we have not been able to reach out to the people owing to the Covid crisis right now. We are an old party with a proper structure and will take a decision on the future course of action only after seeking opinion from the public.”

Sources in the NC said the Abdullah father and son, who are president and vice-president of the party, have established contact with leaders and cadres through email and WhatsApp, but only to discuss efforts to help people amid the Covid-19 crisis and the lockdown.

Omar Abdullah has also cited the pandemic as the reason for not talking politics for the time being. But Ibrahim Wani, assistant professor at the Institute of Kashmir Studies at Srinagar’s University of Kashmir, expressed scepticism.

“If you see the trend in some places, the ruling elite has not suspended their politics because of the pandemic, but in some places, the opposition has done that, and has been acting like think-tanks which criticise policy matters and administrative decisions. This is clearly the case in Kashmir,” said Wani.

Also read: What Farooq Abdullah’s release means for mainstream politics in Kashmir

Onus on Farooq Abdullah

Politicians from the PDP and the Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference, who spoke to ThePrint on the condition of anonymity, expressed disappointment over the silence of Abdullahs, saying they have to speak out sooner or later.

One of the tweets by Omar Abdullah during the controversy on the new domicile law had particularly not gone down well with the other political parties. He had written about the restoration of statehood and elections, and given special status a miss.

“The Modi government has said on multiple occasions that statehood will be returned to J&K and elections will be held. What is exceptional about asking for that? The core issue was and should remain the loss of our standing in the Constitution of India, i.e. Article 370,” a PDP leader said.

“Keeping the special status of J&K off the table is political suicide, and also a sign of surrender,” the leader said.

A day before the Modi government scrapped Article 370, all major political parties had met at Farooq Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence, and vowed to protect the special status of the state in the ‘Gupkar Declaration’ they had all signed. But the declaration has been given a miss by all released politicians so far.

“Dr Farooq Abdullah is the senior-most politician of Kashmir. The Gupkar Declaration meeting was held under his guidance and mainstream politics cannot move ahead without senior leaders on board,” said a second PDP leader.

Adnan Ashraf of the People’s Conference expressed a similar view. “The released leaders should not remain silent. The NC is the biggest stakeholder in J&K; all other parties combined are not as big as NC. Keeping quiet will hurt Kashmir’s interests,” said Ashraf, whose party chief Lone, after spending months in detention, is now under house arrest.

“Even before 5 August, all of us got together. On the first day, it was Mehbooba Mufti, Sajad Lone and (former IAS officer and J&K People’s Movement party leader) Shah Faesal. The National Conference was a bit reluctant on the first day, but the next day, all of us sat together at Dr Farooq Abdullah’s residence and signed the Gupkar Declaration. We should carry forward things from that declaration,” Ashraf added.

PDP spokesperson Najmu Saqib, however, told ThePrint the party stands by the Gupkar Declaration.

“Since our leadership is incarcerated, and because of the Covid-19 pandemic, no joint strategy could be formulated till now. Once the
situation stabilises and restrictions on our leadership is lifted, we will approach other political parties and formulate strategy ahead
which will be in the public domain, as we have already mentioned before,” he added.

“The declaration signed before the abrogation of Article 370 states any modification, abrogation of Articles 35A, 370, trifurcation of the state or unconstitutional delimitation would be considered as aggression against the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh,” Saqib said.

“It also states that all the parties would be united in their resolve to protect and defend identity, autonomy and special status of the JK state against all attacks and onslaughts whatsoever.”

Also read: What Omar Abdullah’s release means for Kashmir, PDP rebels and Mehbooba Mufti

Why wait for NC response?

University of Kashmir’s Wani, however, does not buy the argument the NC has to take the lead.

“It is not only political activity that has been suspended, but also the democratic process, such as elections. Who is talking about elections or delimitation? Talking about these issues will naturally force politicians to make their stands clearer. Do all mainstream parties in Kashmir want to look up to one party and wait for it to speak? If that is the case, all other parties should join them (NC),” he said.

After Mufti was shifted to her Gupkar Road residence last month, her daughter Iltija had tweeted on her behalf that once restrictions imposed on her are lifted, “she will approach all stakeholders for a joint strategy to move forward. She will also speak to the press about her views on what transpired post 5th August”.

PDP leader Waheed Para, who remains under house arrest, added: “Issues regarding the future course of action can only be decided after Madam Mehbooba Mufti is released.”

Also read: In Farooq Abdullah’s silence, lies his acceptance of new realities of Kashmir’s politics


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Support Our Journalism

India needs fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism, packed with on-ground reporting. ThePrint – with exceptional reporters, columnists and editors – is doing just that.

Sustaining this needs support from wonderful readers like you.

Whether you live in India or overseas, you can take a paid subscription by clicking here.

Support Our Journalism


  1. Their silence is easy to explain.
    They have tasted imprisonment and do not want to taste it again.
    Kashmiris cannot find better leaders than these tired old hags?

  2. ThePrint why are you trying to bring back old wounds on article 370. Abudullahs and Mufti is past history. Be more creative and find new topics to discuss.

  3. The Kashmir problem whether it’s solved by scrapping Article 370 or not, can’t be said. Undoubtedly Farook Abdullah, Omar Abdullah are made free but can’t Mufti MS , so there is scope for a lot of speculations if they both have made some promise , on terms is only known to BJP duo & Abdullah, I think Mufti MS has or may have or haven’t still. But they have no option uptill election. PM& HM have handled the Kashmir issue with iron hands & hand. The way upto date full under control but unless PoK Q isn’t clear the problem has no end.
    Except scrapping the article nothing new has been risen, because the same Nehruji, Indira handled it in the same way with one outcome of scrapping the article & Centralised the state making it under the self control.
    But unless and until the problem is solved by PoK direct under control the same terrorism is going on , will go on.

  4. The Kashmir problem whether it’s solved by scrapping Article 370 or not, can’t be said. Undoubtedly Farook Abdullah, Omar Abdullah are made free but can’t Mufti MS , so there is scope for a lot of speculations if they both have made some promise , on terms is only known to BJP duo & Abdullah, I think Mufti MS has or may have or haven’t still. But they have no option uptill election. PM& HM have handled the Kashmir issue with iron hands & hand. The way upto date full under control but unless PoK Q isn’t clear the problem has no end.
    Except scrapping the article nothing new has been risen, because the same Nehruji, Indira handled it in the same way with one outcome of scrapping the article & Centralised the state making it under the self control.
    But unless and until the problem is solved by PoK direct under control the same terrorism is going on , will go on.

  5. Keeping quiet is a respectable option for the great father-son duo who project themselves as the believers in democracy. After all the abrogation of 370& 35A
    was done in both houses of Parliament in full view of the nation with hours of debate and a resounding vote in favor of abrogation.
    While maintaining a conviction that 370&35A will never go, no efforts would have been made to cover the tracks which otherwise is a common practice in democracies.
    May be the option is between the respectable acceptance of a democratically arrived at decision or facing a lot of unwelcome / embarrassing issues of the past .
    The stakes could be BIG

  6. 370 does not exist anymore. You can wail & whine about it but dont rave & rant. You will force us to put you bsck again. Nothing S-Pecial about you guys. Pampered Lot!

  7. Twitter account of Mehbooba Mufti is operated by her daughter , I think that’s why her twitter account talks about the abrogation .what I think is that she might be vocal about it when she will be released

  8. Pseudos like Batla are the real enemies of the people. He sheds no tears for Displaced people from POK, the Gujjars, Secular Kashmiris, Bakerwals,Pandits,Sikhs and Hindus .He has no clue on the development works going on and projected for the future. Does he want Rohingyas, Pathans and Punjabis from Pakistan settled in Kashmir ?What does he know about Demonetisation or Abrogation of Article 370.why are Rohingyas to be settled in Jammu and not Kashmir… Remember that Pandits ,Dogras, and tribals are the original inhabitants of J And K. When they are suffering how can others enjoy peace… There will be no peace. What about the crores of rupees of land ,properties and houses lost. Will he fill up ?
    Remember after Partition the migrants from India were settled only in Sindh and not in Punjab and are called Mohajirs apart from being badly discriminated and literally hunted down like the Shias, Ahmediyyas and Hazaras.
    Everything will fruitfy and there will be progress and Justice for all… Not only for some select families. What has happened in POK, NWFP, Baluchistan, Sindh and Seraiki areas.

  9. It’s better that these types should remain quiet in the matter of India. It’s not their personal matter.

  10. PRiNT don’t you have any useful questions?
    Surprising to see such article
    Now people are adopting themselves for the New reality.if possible you can help by giving better suggestions to improve their life.IT is an USELESS article Waste of time

  11. A stupid channel. Whenever and whatever is written is called duplicate comment. Again it says ‘it seems you have told the same earlier’. Stupid, shall I tell different thing at different times on the same subject. What type of journalism is it.

  12. Article 370 & 35A were always a disputed and much talked of issue as an exception to the idea of Indian federation. And it was inevitable that these article would one day be scrapped. And it met its ultimate fate. And over ambitious Kashmir’s separatist activities, it’s local politics, religious fundamentalism, non-standard actors fueling terrorism are all responsible for its faster abrogation through the hands of BJP in power. There is no denying the fact

  13. Bol ke to dekho, aisa danda parega ke corona ki nani yaad aajayegy. These politicians of kashmir know that they have no credibility either in Kashmir or Delhi. Kashmiris need to evolve and develop new leadership which will work for them and not for their own pockets

  14. Why is Print interested in putting Proxies to instigate valley politicians to oppose abrogation of article 370? Not if Print wants to stay mainstream

  15. Both Faroukh Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are in dilemma , to do or not to do is the question , if they speak against Article 370 then they are screwed by the Govt., and if they speak for Article 370 , then prople of Kashmir are going to screw them , hence silence is the best policy now.

  16. Let the Kasmiri step out of the shadow of Article 370 and move on accepting the Change.
    Don’t waste time and energy chasing the past..
    For too long Separatism and special privileges have ruled the roost. Time to wakeup and Join the Nation’s progress as Equals ..Nothing less nothing more.

  17. Why do u want them to raise it. What is the fuss about. Do you want to create an Islamic enclave. Why don’t u question things on the other side of loc. Which is under illegal occupation.

  18. Why Print wants Abdullas to speak ? Article 370 was wrong & was revoked in Conditional manner. Now, NC & PDP should help for development of the State as Article 370 was hurdle in Kashmir’s development.

  19. These Kashmiri Politicians Were Opening Their Mouth Only To Devour Freebies From GOI.Freebies Have Stopped Shutting Their Mouths.

  20. Don’t know why print has always got pain in its stomach regarding article 370 abrogation . It has lot of negativity for india as a whole and specially modi government, nevertheless one thing I can assure kashmir is are more secure and have advantage after end of article 370. One more thing there is no place in world more secure and more liberal towards muslim than india. It is india where platform like print can carry on their negative propaganda against india and no one will oppose them, otherwise in pakistan or lot of muslim countries or even china you don’t have this type of freedom of expression. So you enjoy it.

    • How you compare pakistan an army controlled dictatorship nation with democratic india is beyond me

  21. They are quiet for different reasons. Farooq Abdullah is possibly quiet just as Mulayam Singh and Mayawati are quiet ; Omar Abdullah is quiet because father Farooq has to be quiet, just as Akhilesh Yadav is quiet. Mehbooba Mufti is quiet because she is biding her time; she knows that if she starts talking while in prison, her voice will not go far, and moreover, she herself may never be able to come out of the prison.
    The stalemate will continue. Narendra Modi was never serious about development in Kashmir, or anywhere else, for that matter. His dream of pushing hoards of outsider Indians into the valley will not fructify for security reasons. Abrogation of 370 and 35A was a faux pas just as demonetisation was, but Narendra Modi will never admit it. The real losers will remain the poor people of the valley whose lives and livelihoods are badly jolted.

    • Hhhmmmmm…as if it was jannat in Kashmir before 5th Aug. Articles 370 & 35A are done & dusted. No power in the world can reverse it. People like u & poor Pakistanis will cry forever.

      • It was never a Jannat, I agree, but Freedom+Poverty is better than ONLY Poverty. Don’t you agree? People of Kashmir were never going to become well off in a hurry, but they were at least breathing in fresh air, going about doing things which kept them busy and engrossed, and also helped them eak out a living. What is the situation now? What exactly have Modi-Shah achieved by the 5 August upheaval? And most important, WHEN & HOW, if at all ever, will the life return to at least the “bad, non-Jannat” status of pre-5.08.2019?

        • Since Covid 19, quality of air has improved everywhere, even in kashmir. there is no problem in breathing fresh air.

  22. Stupid article by a pro pakistani Kashmiri Muslim journalist who is trying to instigating issues in the already troubled state.

    • What you said is right. Kashmir is a finished agenda, let’s talk about POK and Aksaichin. Print and ISI are no different. They bark from other side and the print will bark from here. Enough biscuits are given to siddarth.

  23. It’s seems that the Abdullahs and Mufti s have loads of skeletons of corruption in their closets . Modi must have threatened to display them to tbe people . Kashmir for years has being one of the most corrupt states in india where in name of appeasement of the Kashmiris egos or for terrorism money was spent without any accountability ( CVC or CAG audits refused by J&K government on the basis it would interfere with Article 370 ) . That’s a logical explanation why Abdullah and Mufti are quiet …

  24. Modi haters desperately need bytes from Farooq Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti to cook fake stories as Corona pandemic has dried their options of fake news and stories. Pakistan’s fake tweets to misinform the Arab world have become counter productive and leftists / Congress engineered Hindu-Muslims divide over CAA has failed to produce desired results like Hindu-Muslim riots. Fake news and fake stories are the only life line left for librandus and khan market gang.

Comments are closed.

Most Popular