Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday asked his successor Mehbooba Mufti to accept the responsibility for civilian killings during the summer uprising this year while seeking release of the youth arrested during past more than four months.
“The same Mehbooba Mufti blamed Ghulam Nabi Azad for the 2008 unrest and held me responsible for the 2010 agitation. By her own standards and logic she is then responsible for the current situation and she should accept the responsibility,” Omar said, addressing a convention of party delegates from Srinagar district at NC headquarters here.
“During my tenure, I remember Mehbooba Mufti told a parliamentary delegation that the children who had (during summer 2010 unrest) gone out to buy milk or toffee were shot at and killed. But today, you are ridiculing the families of slain youth by asking had they (the youth killed during unrest in 2016) gone out to buy milk or toffee while attacking police. Why do you find these youth guilty now?” asked Omar. “Today you are holding a father, who put his son in grave, responsible for his killing. Today, you are holding a mother responsible who saw her son dying and you are holding a sister responsible who saw her brother dying.”
At least 96 civilians were killed and over 15000 injured in past over four months of pro-freedom uprising that was triggered by the killing of militant commander BurhanWani by security forces in south Kashmir on July 8 this year.
Omar, who is also working President of National Conference, asked the Chief Minister to release thousands of youth arrested during the summer unrest this year and withdraw all cases against them.
“Why do you have to go and beg before Prime Minister for everything? Take the decisions. I as Chief Minister released youth during my tenure and I hadn’t to go and beg before the Prime Minister. You are piling problems for people,” said Omar.
He said National Conference didn’t politicize the uprising and did not seek dismissal of the PDP-BJP Government despite a complete breakdown of law and order and governance apparatus.
“Unlike PDP, we didn’t politicize the heart-rending and extremely grave situation in the Valley. Unlike Mehbooba Mufti, I didn’t go and lock the civil secretariat at a time when the Valley was on fire. When we went to Delhi, we didn’t go to ask for the dismissal of this Government but we sought the initiation of a political process to find a lasting solution to the Kashmir issue,” said Omar.
‘War looming over JK’:
Omar said the situation in J&K was a cause of “grave concern” while referring to surge in skirmishes along the border, increase in militancy in the state and yesterday’s fidayeen attack at army base in Jammu.
“Today clouds of war are looming over Jammu and Kashmir,” Omar told media persons later. Since security forces conducted surgical strikes across LoC, tension has escalated between India and Pakistan and as many as 21 incidents of militancy related activities including attacks within the state and along the border have been witnessed so far.
“There is no doubt that the situation is a cause of grave concern, internally as well as on border and LoC. In recent months we have seen significant deterioration in relation between Indian and Pakistan and increase in tension along LoC. Unfortunately we have seen significant increase in militancy resulting in far high casualties than in recent years,” said Omar.
Referring to the surgical strikes, Omar said post the event several leaders from government of India asserted there won’t be any militancy related activities in J&K.
“Then what happened in Nagrota and Samba (in Jammu),” Omar said referring to yesterday’s attacks in Jammu in which seven army persons including two officers were killed by militants. “Every second or third day something happens in Kashmir. That is why Farooq sahab has been repeatedly saying that threatening our neighbors won’t yield anything.”
Omar said the deteriorating situation pointed towards failure of the state government as well as New Delhi to ensure peaceful atmosphere in the state. “We are desirous of it and deserve it as well. So we hope that steps will be taken by the center and the state to secure our borders and ensure that we live in peace,” said Omar.
However Omar said the onus for ensuring peace at the borders as well as within the state lies with both New Delhi and Islamabad.
“The initiative for peace has to be taken by both. Pakistan can’t expect only us to take the initiative,” said Omar, adding Prime Minister NarendraModi had taken the initiative when he made a sudden visit to Islamabad to attend marriage function in the family of his counterpart Nawaz Sharif.
“What happened then? We got Pathankot (attack on army base). This is a situation where both have to act,” Omar said.
‘Government discriminating against Kashmir’:
Hitting out at the government for “discriminating against” people of Kashmir, Omar asserted that the chief minister had directed the authorities concerned to divert the developmental funds, which couldn’t be spent in Kashmir owing to prevailing situation, to Jammu.
“Why are our rights snatched? We don’t snatch anybody rights? If you (government) couldn’t utilize the developmental funds in Kashmir that were meant for roads and buildings, spent them for purchasing power for Kashmir and providing ration to people,” said Omar, adding that during the present dispensation the Valley has suffered the most.
“That is why people are saying where Mehbooba Mufti, who would shed crocodile tears during my tenure, has disappeared. Today, when Kashmir is facing discrimination, MehboobaJi is silent. She eats GolGappa and ride scooty,” said Omar. “She is not bothered because her only aim is to stick to her chair and she can go to any extent for that.”
“The party of ‘healing touch’ has become the party of ‘blinding touch’ today as hundreds of young children have been robbed of their eyesight due to pellets,” Omar said.
He criticized the government for “scarcity” of the ration items and inadequate power supply in Kashmir. “The situation is worst today,” he said.
Contesting the remarks of the Chief Minister that only five percent people had participated in the uprising, Omar said entire state was burning and thousands of people would everyday participate in the protests.
‘Betrayals by center’:
Omar said each time the situation in Kashmir deteriorates New Delhi promises of taking initiatives to resolve Kashmir problem. “But every time we have faced betrayals despite tall promises by the successive regimes in the center,” said Omar. “New Delhi turns its attention towards Kashmir only when it is on fire. But they forget their promises and missions when situation becomes normal.”
Senior party leaders including General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, Dr Sheikh Mustafa Kamal, Mubarak Gul, Nasir AslamWani, ShameemaFirdous and Peer Muhammad Afaq also addressed the convention. Those present on the occasion included party leaders Ali Muhammad Dar, Irfan Ahmed Shah, State Spokesperson JunaidMattu, Showkat Ahmed Mir, President Youth National Conference Salman Ali Sagar, provincial spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar, senior vice-president youth, Yunis Mubarak Gul and others.