Srinagar, Sep 21 (PTI) The import duty on American apples and walnuts was relaxed as Prime Minister Narendra Modi wanted US President Joe Biden to be the chief guest at the 2024 Republic Day parade, National Conference vice president Omar Abdullah said on Thursday.
"It is now known what compelled the central government to remove the tax on American apples and walnuts. The prime minister (Narendra Modi) wanted to invite the American President (Biden) as a special guest for the January 26 ceremony," he said.
"They made sure that apples, walnuts and dry fruits will come from America while our own apples, walnuts and dry fruits will rot in the markets,” said the NC leader while addressing a one-day party workers' convention at Handwara in north Kashmir's Kupwara district.
Ahead of the G20 Summit, the Centre announced the removal of additional duties on about half a dozen US products, including apples, walnuts, almonds and lentils.
These duties were imposed in 2019 in a retaliatory move after America hiked tariffs on certain steel and aluminium products from India.
Criticising the policies of the government, Abdullah said, "The situation in Jammu and Kashmir is different now, people are unhappy and disappointed in every region."
"Youth are angry, chaos is everywhere, inflation is touching new heights. On the other hand, LG (Manoj Sinha) claims that 80 per cent of people are happy with him and they do not want assembly elections to be held," he said.
The NC vice president said the colour of the party flag was red because of the sacrifices made by its dedicated leaders and workers.
“We are not among those who, seeing the situation, hoisted the flag of another country and encouraged the youth to pick up guns and are sitting in the Raj Bhavan today,” he said.
On the Supreme Court hearing a batch of petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, Abdullah said some people were of the view that the NC should not sit silent and protest on the streets.
But we decided to not take the path of protest. We have chosen to obey the law and fight the battle according to the Constitution, he said.
"It does not take time for the situation to deteriorate here, it does not take time to open fire here. We will not give stones in the hands of the youth, we will fight peacefully, constitutionally, and legally and we will fight for justice,” he said.
“We hope and pray that we get success and the court gives a decision that will preserve our recognition, honour, dignity and distinction,” he added.
(This is an unedited and auto-generated story from Syndicated News feed, LatestLY Staff may not have modified or edited the content body)