National Conference (NC) vice-president Omar Abdullah on Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir does not face as much threat from Pakistan or the muzzle of the gun as from the forces who were “hell-bent on destroying the special status of the state”.

Addressing a public meet in Kund valley area of Devsar in Kulgam district of Anantnag parliamentary constituency, in south Kashmir, Abdullah said keeping in view the challenges the state is facing, the people have to make a right choice in the ensuing elections while choosing their representative for the Lok Sabha.

“J-K does not face as much threat from neighbouring country or the muzzle of gun as it faces from the forces who are hell-bent on destroying the special status of the state,” the NC vice-president said.

He said anyone holding a public post whether a governor or a chief minister in the state has to take oath on the state constitution, but “anti-state forces” were not able to digest this realism.

“This has become a scorn in the eyes of those forces who have revived their vows to destroy the special constitutional position of our state in their manifesto. However, they fail to understand that the erstwhile Dogra ruler Hari Singh didn’t merge with the Union, he had only acceded with the dominion of India on three subjects,” Abdullah said.

He said these forces are hell-bent on destroying the constitutional provisions of Article 370 and Article 35-A that confer special status to the state.

The fact remains that Maharaja would not have signed Instrument of Accession had New Delhi not taken an undertaking to protect the individual character of the state. Those who are questioning the vitality of Article 370 and Article 35-A, are unwaveringly questioning the rudiments of accession of the state with the Union of India. Any assault on the special status of our sate will without doubt cast a shadow on the fundamentals of accession, he claimed.

Underscoring the need of sending a credible and strong voice to the Lok Sabha, the NC leader said the ensuing elections provide the people an opportunity to send a person to the Parliament who could debate on the issues pertaining to the state.

“The one who could fight for our unique identity and special status within the Union. Keeping in view the challenges our state is facing we chose to field retired Justice Hassnain Masoodi from the Anantnag Parliamentary seat. He has the necessary political acumen, to fight for our state. A legal luminary, Masoodi is the most suitable person to represent us in the Parliament,” he said.

Abdullah said the others who were in the fray in Anantnag parliamentary constituency lack on all fronts to take on the challenges the state was facing.

“On one side we have a Congress candidate (G A Mir), who if elected to parliament cannot take on the forces as aggressively as Masoodi can. The Congress candidate would obviously be bound by the party’s dictate. Moreover, much of the state’s special status was obliterated by the Congress party, and what was left was subsequently surrendered by PDP before BJP for the lust of power,” he said.

“We have (PDP president) Mehbooba (Mufti) in the fray as well, whose political slyness and bankruptcy is known to all. How can she raise voice for state in parliament when she couldn’t do that in 2008, when the sate was in flames because of Amarnath Land agitation?” he asked.

The former chief minister while hitting at the PDP for “unleashing unremitting torments on the people”, said he had never seen the people of the state as helpless in my entire stint in politics as I get to see them.

People are privy to the five years of plunder, destruction, exploitation nepotism and repression. PDP and Mufti’s used the people who had voted for them as sacrificial goat for securing power. Muftis and PDP berated and betrayed the mandate of people in order to ascend the altar of power, he alleged.