The Enforcement Directorate on Monday questioned former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah, 82, for nearly seven hours in connection with alleged irregularities in the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. The National Conference leader later issued a spirited statement wherein he declared that the struggle for Article 370 restoration in Jammu and Kashmir will continue whether Farooq is alive or dead.
“Remember one thing, we have a long way to go. This is a long fight,” the 82-year-old politician said. “Our struggle will go on whether Farooq Abdullah is alive or Farooq Abdullah is dead. Our resolve has not changed and our resolve will not change even if I were to be hanged,” he opined.
Farooq added that the struggle for restoration of the special status was of all the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “It is not Farooq Abdullah or the National Conference’s struggle alone. It is the struggle of all the people,” he said.
The Modi government in August 2019 scrapped Article 370 from Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the border state into two Union Territories — Jammu and Kashmir division, and Ladakh division.
Meanwhile, several constituents of the newly formed People’s Alliance, comprising mainstream political parties from Jammu and Kashmir, described Faroow Abdullah being summoned by the ED as a “witch hunt” and “political vendetta” by the Centre. He was summoned by the ED on Monday in connection with a case related to alleged irregularities in utilisation of funds given to the JK cricket association by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
Asked about the nature of questioning, Farooq said it’s an ongoing process and since the ED had to ask some more things after the previous round of questioning last year, he had made himself available.
“I am not worried, why are you worried? The only regret I have is that I could not have my lunch,” a visibly irritated Farooq told reporters as soon as he came out of the ED office after his questioning.
Abdullah said the ED personnel had to do their job and he had to do his. “They were nice and very very good,” the NC president said.
Abdullah refused to comment on the proceedings, saying the matter will be decided in court. “In the end, it has to be decided in the court when they put the papers in the court,” he said.