‘GoI’s takeover of J&K Bank was in pipeline’
National Conference (NC) President and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah Wednesday said Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan’s approach on resolving long-pending issues with New Delhi had rekindled hope and augurs well for people of Jammu Kashmir.
Speaking at the annual day celebrations of Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences at SKICC, Abdullah welcomed the positive approach of Pakistan’s leadership and said that the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s recent avowals on Indo-Pak bonhomie had rekindled the hope that a day would come when the people of Jammu Kashmir would live in a free atmosphere.
“I foresee a time when my colleagues, friends and family members move around without security. It is perhaps for that day, Allah has kept me going. I wish that day comes when the two neighbouring countries of India and Pakistan live in camaraderie,” he said.
The NC President asserted that only the democratically-elected governments would advance the cause of development and work for the socio-economic emancipation of the underprivileged.
“I look forward to elections for the State assembly at an earliest. Only a popular government can mitigate the mounting woes of the people. And it is the duty of people to elect honest people to the legislature,” he said.
Expressing dismay over the attack on the secular visage of India, Abdullah said, “Many powers that are inimical to the secular character of India are making bigoted attempts to polarize the people on religious lines to garner support. This I believe is dangerous for a country like India which belongs to all.”
He said people wanted answers for all those fanciful promises that were made by BJP.
“People cannot forget the ordeal that they had to undergo due to demonetization,” he said. “Small business men and small enterprise holders too are at the receiving end due to the promulgation of GST.”
The three-time chief minister while applauding the professionalism and efforts of doctors of SKIMS said the institute should take lead in research also.
“It is the share effort of people who run this institution that will make it great. The other day I read that the research being done is India is not of good quality. SKIMS should take a lead in research and come up with cure for many diseases that are a source of agony for people. The institute should find cure for diseases like diabetes and cancer. It will earn laurels for the institute,” he said.
Addressing the annual day function, Abdullah allocated Rs 1 crore for the construction of auditorium at SKIMS.
“I hope next year an elected government addresses the annual function in the very own auditorium of SKIMS. I urge the Governor’s administration to render more funds for the construction of an auditorium facility within SKIMS,” he said.
Talking to the media persons, the NC President said there were forces that wanted to encroach upon the working autonomy of J&K Bank.
“I fervidly trounced those efforts during my tenure as chief minister and we will continue to protect it,” he said.
Abdullah asserted that only the democratically-elected governments would advance the cause of development and would work for the socio-economic emancipation of the underprivileged.
“I look forward to elections for the state assembly at an earliest. Only a popular government can mitigate the mounting woes of the people. And it is the duty of people to elect honest people to the legislature,” he said.
The NC President said the move to take over J&K Bank had been in the pipeline for a long time but Government of India (GoI) had not succeeded until now.
“Now they thought they will accomplish it during the current Governor’s rule. But the new government, which will come in the State has to ensure that nothing has been done to the autonomy of the bank,” the NC President told media persons on the sidelines of the function.
He said there was a well-planned design to take over the J&K Bank during his tenure as Chief Minister by the then Bharatiya Janata Party-led government at New Delhi.
“Back then the Bank was working fine. But in the office of Home Minister (Lal Krishan) Advani Ji, I and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission were present and it was there that they told me that the J&K Bank should be taken over as it isn’t functioning well,” Abdullah said.
He said luckily then the Mumbai-based Business Standard had published a news report detailing how well the J&K Bank was functioning.
“I sent the report to Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission who then called and told me that his information on the bank was not right,” the NC President said.
He said he does not know why plans were being made to take over the bank.
“Those trying to do this should tell why they are doing it,” Abdullah said.
He said the Governor’s statement reassuring that the autonomy of the bank would not be curtailed could only be seen in a positive light.
On the possibility of the fresh assembly polls in the State, the NC President said, “The elections will take place here and we are hopeful that they happen soon.”
“It will be good if the Parliament and State Assembly polls are held at the same time,” he said.
Reacting to the statements of Peoples Conference President Sajad Lone that the NC President has blood on his hand, Abdullah said, “I don’t see any blood on my hand. I don’t know how he sees it.”
He said fighting any election in India by invoking religion was not good.
“They aren’t fighting for people,” the NC President said.
Abdullah said they should tell the people what promises they had fulfilled.
“Have 15 lakh been given to every citizen; how many jobs have been provided; what has demonetization and GST achieved,” Abdullah said, adding that rather than invoking religion BJP should tell what they intend to do in the future.
He said India is not what Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister has depicted by seeking votes in the name of Hindu deity Ram.
“India is a secular nation. The Election Commission should take note of this statement and action must be taken against those who use religion to seek votes,” the NC President said.
He said it was a “tragedy” that a Police officer in Bulandshahar was targeted and killed under a planned attack.
“The nation must remember that these forces should be controlled and abolished completely,” he said.
NC on Wednesday held commemorative functions to mark the 113th birth anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah across the State.
The main congregational Fateh Khawani was held at Abdullah’s grave at Naseem Bagh in Srinagar.
NC President Farooq Abdullah and Vice President Omar Abdullah led the senior party leaders and party functionaries along with hundreds of party activists in paying tributes to Sheikh at his grave.
Senior party leaders, functionaries and party workers participated in the congregational Fateh Khawani and paid glowing tributes to Sheikh.