Kashmir Never Merged With India: Omar

22 November 2009
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday said Jammu and Kashmir had not completely merged with the Union of India but only acceded in 1947 and added that there was a need to revisit that status of the State within the constitutional framework of India. “J&K has traditionally enjoyed a greater autonomy within the constitution of India. Now, we are saying that to re-strengthen the bridge between India and the State, there is a need to revisit that status. Unlike other princely states, J&K has not completely merged with India, but only acceded,” Omar said in an interview to NDTV. Reacting to the telephonic query of Chief Minister of Delhi, Sheila Dixit, Omar said dialogue was the only way forward to resolve Kashmir issue. “I’m optimistic about the dialogue process. Gun can not solve our problem but dialogue can. And for this everybody should be engaged. It is not necessary whether everybody’s involvement makes a difference at the end, but engaging everyone is necessary.” Stressing upon a need for a sustained and long-term political engagement between various political shades of opinion in the State and New Delhi, Omar expressed hope that Kashmir issue would be resolved soon. “There is a growing realization in both India and Pakistan that Kashmir is not a problem that can be allowed to fester anymore. Kashmir will be resolved soon. The solution will never be acceptable to 100 per cent people but will be acceptable to majority of people of J&K.” Rejected the notion that every Kashmiri is a terrorist, Omar asked the government at New Delhi and other State governments to be more sensitive while dealing with Kashmiris. “Kashmiris are not terrorists. Evidence you find is contradictory to that notion. Our young cricketer was unfairly targeted in Banglore. Same is true for majority of Kashmiris. Let the State governments tell us before arresting any Kashmiri. I ask them do not pick them (Kashmiris) on suspicion. We have a database of suspects in the state. So before zeroing in on any one they (police of different states and troops) must cross-check with us,” the chief minister said. Reacting to a query of a Kashmiri youth Yasir about the ban on pre-paid mobile phones in the State, Omar said ban on pre-paid mobile facility in J&K was not by his government’s decision. “Ban on pre-paid is a problem for everybody. We are trying to workout a model with the Union Home Ministry and the security agencies about security problems.” Omar said PDP Patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed should was equally responsible for rigging of the infamous 1987 assembly elections in the State as his father Farooq Abdullah and their party NC was. “I believe there is no smoke without fire. However, it is very unfair to blame my party and my father for the rigging. We were a coalition partner with Congress in those elections and Mufti Muhammad Sayeed was the State Congress chief at that time. So he (Mufti) is equally responsible for the rigging.” He said the biggest challenge for him as the chief minister of the State was to see to it that the graph of security situation in the state continues to show improvement so that “we can take advantage of economic opportunities”. Omar said his offer to resign as the chief minister after allegation by senior PDP leader in the State Legislative Assembly was “instinctive”. “I will do the same thing in future too.” However, he took a dig at the PDP President Mahbooba Mufti for terming him an “immature politician”. “I think a lot of other people better placed can make this allegation against me. A person who snatches the microphone from the Speaker terms me like that is something I can not answer.” He said the Shopian incident and its fallout were the most difficult incidents for him to handle as the chief minister. Omar said that he won the 2008 State Legislative Assembly election from Ganderbal on his own. “When I won for the first time it was because of my surname. When I lost the elections in 2002 it was because of me. However, I also won the 2008 assembly elections because of my work.” (Compiled by Shabir Dar)