Addressing his party workers in Jammu for the first time in over a year, a visibly emotional Farooq Abdullah on Friday said he won't die until constitutional rights of the people of the erstwhile state are restored.
The National Conference (NC) president also assailed the BJP for "misleading the country" and making "false promises" to the people of Jammu and Kashmir as well as to those in Ladakh.
"I will not die until the rights of my people are given back. I am here to do something for the people and the day I will finish my work, I will leave this world," Abdullah told NC workers who packed the Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here ahead of a scheduled meeting of the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Saturday.
It was the 84-year-old Abdullah's first political meeting in Jammu since the abrogation of Article 370 which accorded Jammu and Kashmir special status, and bifurcation of the state into union territories in August last year.
Mainstream political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the NC and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), formed the PAGD last month for the restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state as it existed before August 5 last year and also to initiate a dialogue between all stakeholders on the issue.
Abdullah, accompanied by his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, arrived here this afternoon, their first visit to the region in over a year.
The Abdullahs, along with other political leaders in Kashmir, had been detained under the Public Safety Act and were released this year.
Farooq Abdullah, the sitting parliamentarian from Srinagar and a former chief minister, said his party had never differentiated between Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir and always considered them a single entity.
"We have never thought that Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir are separate from each other. We were not able to take the people of these regions on board at the time of the formation of the PAGD due to the urgency of the situation but now we are here," Abdullah said.
He said that all these parties have joined hands to pitch for the restoration of the Article 370, Article 35A and throwing away the "black laws" which were implemented in Jammu and Kashmir beyond Lakhanpur -- the gateway to the erstwhile state bordering Punjab.