Srinagar: Claiming that India has been dishonest to the people of Jammu and Kashmir since 1947 former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said that the current protests like 2010 are not against the government but purely anti-India in nature. “Youth are on roads not for economic development and jobs but they want a solution to Kashmir problem. A six or eight year old kid who is on the roads has nothing to do with the government job. Let us face reality and accept these protests are against India,” Abdullah told in an interview with India Today TV’s anchor Karan Thapar.
Omar said that he is unable to digest the fact that Kashmir problem is still lingering even after the outbreak of militancy in 1990. “The former Prime Minister Rajive Gandhi had appealed to the people of Kashmir to take whatever you want, but just maintain a bond with India. It has been 26 years since then and efforts are being made to resolve the issue,” he said adding that anger among youth is so much that kids admitted in the hospital are claiming they will pick up gun once relieved from there.
To a question that authority of civilian government looks diminished and power has gone to GoC Army, Omar Abdullah according to CNS said that, “Yes, it looks wrong, forget the authority of the Chief Minister, I am sorry to say even the authority of Union Home Minister. Even being votary of lifting AFSPA from Jammu and Kashmir the then Home Minister Chidabaram’s proposal was vetoed by Cabinet Committee on Security. To suggest that Chief Minister has been left with less power because of the military presence (in Kashmir) may be true, but unfortunately same is the case with the Union Home Minister,” he said.
Responding to a question that how much responsible the previous Chief Minister’s including Sheikh Abdullah and Farooq Abdullah and he himself is responsible for the present Kashmir unrest Omar Abdullah said, “If the agitations were against the state administration or state apparatus then obviously the Chief Ministers are to be blamed but what the protesters in Jammu and Kashmir are demanding are not better amenities, better roads, governance and jobs. You have 8 and 10 years old kids admitted in hospital, you think they are agitating for jobs and better quality roads. It’s a political demand and it’s a political problem and their demands don’t begin and end with the state government. They actually begin and end with the centre and the state government can play the role of a facilitator,” he said.
He also suggested that the solution to the problems of the state required political will. “Politicians lack the courage. The elected government must have courage,” Abdullah said. He said any initiative that Prime Minister Narendra Modi might take to resolve the current crisis in the Valley could calm tempers, but if it is not followed up then it becomes difficult to resolve.
“It will definitely calm tempers, but there will be far more suspicion today than there could be a few years ago. Every time a problem like this arises, it becomes more difficult to bring an end to it,” he said.
Omar Abdullah said that it is really sorry to state that even today the New Delhi is living in denial. “I take the point that Pakistan will fish in troubled waters but if we (India) are going to convince ourselves that the current Kashmir agitation is the product of Pakistan’s mischievous designs then I am sorry we are making the same mistakes again and again. Pakistan is taking advantage of the situation but even Pakistan was taken by surprise when things suddenly flared up. To put blame on Pakistan absolves us from responsibilities to find a solution to Kashmir problem,” he said.
He agreed with former Union Home Minister P Chidambaram’s views that the Centre had broken promises on issues that formed the state’s accession to India, saying they had been dishonest with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “India had been dishonest with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Kashmir acceded to India with only Communication, Foreign Exchange and Defence to been seen by India but, “look at the present situation.”
“The demands of the people need to be met. Many a promise had been made, but they have been forgotten,” Omar said. He said the situation in Jammu and Kashmir was a complicated one and there was an urgent need for the current regime to wake up to the reality,” he said.
“We have periodically make mistakes. We remember Kashmir only when it goes to flames. We need to settle Kashmir issue when things are relatively calm but at that time we satisfy ourselves with a peaceful election, good tourist season. The moment things seem to be calm on surface we forget Kashmir problem paving way for unrest,” he said. (CNS)