National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said that election is the right of the people but Kashmiris will not beg before the Centre to hold polls in Jammu and Kashmir.

“If elections are not held this year, so be it! We are not beggars. I have said it time and again, Kashmiris are not beggars. Election is our right but we will not beg before them for this right. They want to restore the elections to us, good. But if they don’t want to do it, so be it,” Mr Abdullah told reporters in Anantnag district.

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Asked about the eviction of people from properties and state lands, Mr Abdullah claimed it was one of the reasons why elections were not being held in Jammu and Kashmir.

“That’s why they are not holding elections. They want to ‘harass’ the people. Instead of applying balm to the wounds of people, they seem to have a penchant to aggravate the hurt,” he said.

The former chief minister said the BJP government knows that an elected government will try to heal the wounds of the people while they only allegedly rub salt and chilli into them.

Asked about the government’s decision to arm the village defence guards following the Rajouri attack, Mr Abdullah said this was an admission by the government that its claims to the nation at the time of abrogation of Article 370 in 2019 had fallen flat.