Internal autonomy can satiate people's aspirations: Omar
20 July 2003
The Daily Excelsior
Daily Excelsior Correspondent
Jammu: It was an amazing compliment for senior Hurriyat leader and chairman of Awami Action Committee (AAC) of Kashmir, Maulvi Umar Farooq, when the National Conference president, Omar Abdullah, on Sunday endorsed his pro-autonomy expression. At a time when the Hurriyat Conference has expressed itself against Maulvi Umar Farooq's pro-autonomy suggestion, the National Conference (NC) president and former Union Minister of State for External Affairs came out, welcoming his (the Maulvi's) statement supporting internal autonomy for Jammu and Kashmir. Addressing a convention of NC delegates and workers here, Omar Abdullah said that his party was convinced that internal autonomy, coupled with regional autonomy, alone can satiate the aspirations of the people of the State. Stating that the State people had gone through the worst turmoil in the recent past, Omar urged Maulvi Umar Farooq and other Kashmiri leaders to join hands to unitedly fight for restoration of internal autonomy to the State which, he said, 'is the only lasting solution to Kashmir imbroglio and shall help in restoring the honour, self-respect and dignity of the people of the State'. Omar Abdullah's offensive against the present State Government was on the expected lines. He termed the Government headed by Mufti Mohammed Sayeed as 'incompetent, non- performing, politically unstable', stating that it had failed on all fronts, barring raising 'hollow slogans and making tall promises'. The NC chief said that fissures and divide within the ruling alliance had led to 'indecision and uncertainty' in the administration. He added that while the Mufti was playing to the gallery, the developmental works in the State's far-flung areas had come to a standstill. He pointed out that the misery of the people in these areas had increased manifold. It was sad for him to know, he told his audience, that due to 'incompetence' of the Mufti Government the Baghliar hydro-electric project 'is running behind schedule' by over one and a half years and the Swalakote hydro-electric project continued to be a non-starter. 'This complacency of the Government', he warned, 'will badly affect the economy of the State'. A group of villagers complained to the NC president that despite assurances from Mufti Sayeed during his recent visit to the area, the local Government school continued to be without requisite number of teachers and the dispensary is without sufficient number of paramedical staff. Omar Abdullah held out an assurance to the aggrieved people that his party would raise their complaints and grievances on the floor of the J&K Legislature and shall strive for redressal. Among others who addressed the Gool convention were Ajay Sadhotra, NC provincial president, Abdul Wahid Shan, ex-MLA, Abdul Gani Malik, MLA, Sheikh Bashir Ahmad, provincial secretary, Chaman Lal, MLA, Mohd Shafi and Jagjivan Lal, former Minister.