Omar Has A Dream For Children Of Kashmir

17 August 2009
The Hindustan Times

Srinagar: Omar Abdullah has a “dream”. He wants to reverse the clocks in Kashmir to the days of life free from fear for the children and their parents, which he enjoyed as a child in early 1980s. In his Independence Day address in Srinagar on Saturday, Omar Abdullah recalled, 'I have a dream for the future of children of Kashmir that they should get the childhood, which I had in Kashmir, when I could cycle around for hours together, and parents knew that I would be back home safe'. The youngest chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir became nostalgic about his childhood as he recalled the festivals like Dusshera, which he used to enjoy sitting in the lap of his grandfather Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, when Hindus and Sikhs greeted and visited Muslim families on Eid festival and jointly enjoyed the feast. Kashmir, where bullets and bombs snuffed out childhood of tens of thousands of children since 1990s, still has children who have not seen Lal Chowk in Srinagar city itself. Many Kashmiri children have grown up in migrant camps in Jammu in the past 20 years. Kashmir means a distant land for them. Abdullah observed that Dal Lake waters are so polluted that leave aside drinking waters of the lake, people don’t even wash hands there. “I have this dream to restore this kind of life to children, posterity of Kashmir, where peace, beauty and brotherhood and care-free life return and co-exist in perfect harmony”.