National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Monday criticised the Centre for revoking the special status granted to the former state of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 and said that New Delhi does not believe in the Constitution. In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, the former chief minister also claimed that Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti, who is still under detention, was “suffering” because she did not cooperate with the Centre in the abrogation of the special status.

“The people governing Delhi believe in no Constitution,” he told the newspaper. “I am sure one day if they have their way, they will throw the Constitution into [the] Ganga or Jamuna. There is every possibility. These fascists can do anything.”

On his earlier comment that no one in Kashmir trusts New Delhi, Abdullah said that he blames Prime Minister Narendra Modi for the alienation. The National Conference chief recalled that he had met Modi ahead of revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status on August 5, 2019, and asked him about the troop movement to the erstwhile state. The Prime Minister remained “absolutely silent,” he said.

“He made the Home Minister [Amit Shah] announce it [revoking the special status],” Abdullah said. “So that he is above it.”

Speaking on the Gupkar Declaration, Abdullah said all the parties who are a part of the formation will start campaigning soon and fight for the rights of the people. “We reiterated what we said on August 4,” he said. “I hope Ms Mufti is freed soon and we will carry this fight forward not only in Kashmir but will have people of Jammu, Leh and Kargil with us. It’s a fight for our rights.”

The Gupkar Declaration is a formation of six political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference, Congress and the Peoples Democratic Party, who have vowed to fight collectively against the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. The parties, in a joint statement titled “Gupkar Declaration-II”, have described the Centre’s decision to alter the region’s status under Article 370 of the Constitution as “grossly unconstitutional” and a “measure to disempower” people of the former state.

The former chief minister further said that the decision taken by the parties concerned will be a collective one, not made by “one party or one Farooq Abdullah.”

On his detention, Abdullah said that he was treated like a criminal and terrorist. “The second [most difficult] moment was when I was locked up and they slapped the draconian law (Public Safety Act),” he said. “My daughter came to see but was not allowed. She collapsed at the door. We had to get doctors to treat her for some days. That was the most tragic. I had to bear this all.”

Abdullah also spoke about China, which, he said, is not only a third party in the affairs of Kashmir but the biggest power. He questioned the prime minister’s silence on the neighbouring nation and said that if it was Pakistan, “they would have been shouting day in and day out.”