National Conference rules out support to Congress in Kashmir

June 29th, 2008 - 5:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Srinagar, June 29 (IANS) National Conference president Omar Abdullah Sunday ruled out his party’s support to the Congress government if it failed to get a vote of confidence in legislative assembly. The core group of the National Conference met at Abdullah’s Gupkar Road residence here. Senior party leaders and legislators discussed the political crisis in the state following the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) decision Saturday to withdraw from the coalition government.

The National Conference president said his party was in the 2002 elections voted to play the role of the opposition in the 87-member Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly and that was precisely what it intended to do.

“We will neither join the Congress-led government nor support it from outside,” he said.

Asked if as a via media the National Conference would abstain from attending the assembly session on the day Azad seeks the vote of confidence, Abdullah said: “That would clearly mean supporting him and we will not do that.”

He demanded that the government should revoke the controversial forest land allotment order after Governor N.N. Vohra’s letter to the chief minister asking him to take over the conduct of the annual Amarnath pilgrimage.

Jammu and Kashmir has been left in a political crisis after the PDP pulled out of the Congress-led coalition government Saturday amid differences over the allotment of forest land to the the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB).

The Muslim-dominated Kashmir Valley has witnessed violent mass protests in the past week, after the state government March 5 allotted 40 hectares of forest land to the SASB, which until now used to manage the annual pilgrimage to the Himalayan cave shrine in south Kashmir.

Muslims in the Valley are opposed to the allotment and allege the board would use the land to settle “outsiders” in the area and thus change the region’s demography.

“The mass protests in Kashmir would only stop after the cabinet revoked the forest land allotment order to the shrine board,” Abdullah said.

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