Srinagar: Reacting strongly to Congress leader M.L. Fotedar’s claim that the National Conference (NC) gave up its autonomy demand in 1975, senior NC leader Muhammad Shafi Wednesday said the likes of Fotedar had become irrelevant.
Fotedar had said Tuesday said the NC’s demand for restoration of autonomy in Jammu and Kashmir had no basis as its leadership gave up the demand when it signed the 1975 accord with the central government.
The 1975 pact, better known as the Beg-Parthasarthy accord, was signed by NC founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah’s deputy Mirza Afzal Beg and G. Parthasarthy, emissary of then prime minister Indira Gandhi.
Sheikh Abdullah returned to power in the state in 1977 because of the accord which heralded his return to mainstream politics after 23 years.
Fotedar, who belongs to south Kashmir’s Anantnag district, played a key role in Jammu and Kashmir politics as he enjoyed the confidence of Indira Gandhi during whose regime Fotedar was regarded as a power centre.
In a strongly worded statement, Shafi, who is also an MP, said: “He (Fotedar) should find some other issue to make himself relevant.”
The statement said Fotedar had distorted the contents of the 1975 accord to oppose autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir as demanded by the NC.
“The accord in fact provides the basis for restoring autonomy as envisaged in article 370 of the constitution of India.
“The NC, in its manifestoes for elections, has been persistently demanding the restoration of autonomy in its original form.”
He added: “Political circles in Jammu and Kashmir are fully aware of the role played by the likes of Fotedar in destabilising the political situation in the state right since 1953…
“Political lackeys have no role to play in the prevailing situation in the state.”