SRINAGAR: National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah on Friday termed the act of prohibiting congregational prayers at Sufi shrines and Jamia Masjids on Eid-ul-Adha as an unforgivable offence that had no parallel in Kashmir’s tumultuous history.
“We have never seen our shrines being locked down on the auspicious occasion of Eid, nor have we seen such unbridled use of force against civilians on one of the most auspicious religious occasions of the year,” said Omar, in a statement issued here.
Expressing grief and anguish over the continued loss of young lives in the current unrest, Omar lashed out at the Central and the State Government for “aggravating” an already grave situation through a “ham handed, hawkish narrative” that belittles the very essence of democracy.
“Repeated pleas seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns have been treated with contempt. With every passing day the State’s response to the situation in Kashmir becomes more operational and administrative and less political in nature. The Government is deluded into thinking that mass arrests, imposition of PSAs and prohibiting Eid prayers will somehow help normalize the situation. It seems the Government is actually going out of its way to further alienate the people of Kashmir,” he said.
Omar said a continued display of “arrogance” by New Delhi violated the “stentorian rhetoric” of the Prime Minister and also validated the complete lack of interest shown by stakeholders of various shades of opinion in the All Parties’ Delegation’s visit to Srinagar.
“New Delhi cannot sound reconciliatory and regressive at the same time. This notion that a ‘good cop – bad cop’ policy will apparently somehow tire this agitation out and preserve New Delhi’s moral stand is a flawed assumption. New Delhi has lost the remnants of its moral ground in Kashmir and no amount of operational victories can compensate the merciless violation of the ideals that we profess to allegedly nurture in every single speech on and about Kashmir,” he said.
“When you prohibit Eid prayers and impose an unprecedented curfew on Eid in the only Muslim majority State in the country – you are going out of your way to vindicate the stand of those who question the moral legitimacy of Kashmir’s association with the Union of India in view of such repression.”
Omar also claimed that the State and central governments were announcing the “demise of their morality” vis-a-vis Kashmir by “not banning” pellet guns “despite the enormous, unimaginable suffering it has caused in Kashmir.”
“When you choose to trivialize an extremely grave political situation in Kashmir in order to issue validity certificates to a pliant Chief Minister’s inept Government in the State – you are insulting every single lesson from history,” said Omar.
He said National Conference had not reduced this political situation in Kashmir to the demand of seeking the Chief Minister’s resignation or the dismissal of her Government “despite Mehbooba Mufti thriving in her tragic sense of schadenfreude, irresponsibility, incoherence and insensitivity at the pain and grief in Kashmir.”
“The loudest criticism of Mehbooba Mufti and her Government is emanating from within her own party. Demands and hints that she should resign and end her reign of opportunism are coming from co-founders of her own party. National Conference has not sought her resignation and will not seek her resignation. For how long she chooses to be the willing face of brutality and suppression is a question that her conscience needs to answer. Her insensitive, inarticulate remarks have provoked the youth and aggravated the situation. Her ‘5% versus 95%’ theory has been the hallmark of her disconnect. Her insensitivity in going on scooter joyrides and talking of her misspent youth in the midst of such pain and grief in Kashmir is beyond condemnable”, the NC Working President further added.
He asked New Delhi to accept with honour and statesmanship the fact that Kashmir is a political problem that requires a political solution.
“We cannot go from one summer to the next hoping the next agitation in Kashmir will be more manageable. While the provocations, contours and characteristics of such agitations will keep changing – the underlying problem is purely political and remains unaddressed. For every rare statement from New Delhi that reluctantly acknowledges this reality, there are two statements of senior BJP leaders and Ministers in the Central Cabinet ridiculing the situation in Kashmir. With every new flip-flop, every new contradiction – Kashmir is slipping deeper into a precipice – to depths of isolation that are unprecedented”, the NC Working President said.
He said the genesis of alienation in Kashmir lies in New Delhi’s violation of promises and good-faith agreements made with the people of Kashmir.
“New Delhi has failed to honour its promises and has in turn chosen to violate the canons of J&K’s bargained, conditional accession to the Union,” he said.
Omar said that those who talk of dialogue and solutions within the framework of the Indian Constitution are tragically ignorant about successive machinations to erode the State’s Autonomy and push the people towards the severity of hostility that “we are witnessing now and farther away from the idea of India”.
“In our meeting with the President, the Prime Minister and the members of the All Parties’ Delegation – we had clearly sought interim measures to make the atmosphere conducive for dialogue and simultaneously start a broad-based political process to engage with all stakeholders. It is now evident that New Delhi has chosen to re-invest its efforts in the tried, tested and failed strategy of containing agitations through administrative formulations rather than dealing with the root cause of alienation in Kashmir – and that’s extremely tragic,” said Omar.