Srinagar: National Conference chief and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday said, “Our fight is for restoration of Article 370 and our resolve will never change even if I have to be hanged.”Also Read - 'Political Vendetta', National Conference Attacks Centre After ED Questions Farooq Abdullah in J&K Cricket Association Scam
He also said, “We have a long way to go, a long political battle that will continue whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or dead, on the stage or not on the stage.” Also Read - 'Article 370 Will be Restored With China’s Help': Farooq Abdullah Never Said It, Clarifies NC Amid Protest in Jammu
Farooq Abdullah’s remarks come after he was questioned by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) in connection with a money-laundering probe in a case related to the alleged embezzlement of Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association funds. Also Read - 'Kashmiris Don't Feel They Are Indians & Would Rather Prefer to Be Ruled by China', Says Farooq Abdullah
The National Conference (NC) alleged that the BJP is employing government agencies to target Farooq Abdullah after failing to fight him politically.
“The BJP, after failing to politically fight party president Farooq Abdullah, has resorted to employing its agencies for the task,” an NC spokesperson said.
The party was reacting to an ED summons issued to the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar.
Officials said the NC president’s statement will be recorded under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) as in the past.
The NC spokesperson said the ED summons to Farooq Abdullah is clearly the result of the unity the party president has been able to forge among mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir in the shape of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration.
“This is the price one faces when opposed to BJP’s ideology and divisive politics. Recent history is a witness to how the BJP has been employing coercive and intimidating measures through various departments to target opposition leaders across the country. The recent ED summons to Abdullah is a case in point,” the statement said.
The NC said the timing of the summons is very clear as the previous summons was issued just before August 5 last year, when the BJP-led Centre abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, and this summons comes within days of forming the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration, of which Farooq Abdullah has taken a lead.
“Farooq Abdullah continues to maintain his innocence and will cooperate with the authorities in what is nothing but a witch-hunt,” the statement added.
Meanwhile, taking to Twitter, Farooq Abdullah’s son and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah described the ED summons as political vendetta.
“The party will be responding to this ED summons shortly. This is nothing less than political vendetta coming days after the formation of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration. To set the record straight no raids are being conducted at Dr Sahib’s residence,” he tweeted.
People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said the ED summons displays the extent of the government’s nervousness about mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir fighting as one unit.
“ED’s sudden summon to Farooq sahab displays the extent of GOIs nervousness about mainstream parties in J&K fighting as one unit. Also reeks of political vendetta & wont in the least blunt our collective resolve to fight for our rights,” she said in a tweet.
People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone said the summons reeks of vendetta and will have an opposite impact to what the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) wants to achieve.
“What a sorry state of affairs. Dr Farooq sahib summoned by ED. Reeks of vendetta. Contrary to what they want to coercively achieve this will certainly have the opposite impact,” he said on Twitter.
(With inputs from PTI)