Omar Reaches Out To Civil Society4 July 2010
Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah appealed to the civil society to join hands with him and his government to make an all inclusive effort to bring peace and normalcy in Jammu & Kashmir and deliver better governance. Omar said Kashmir issue needs political resolution and this can only happen when all the stakeholders make an effort in right earnest to find a solution. “We have been strong votaries of dialogue both internal as well as external to help resolve issues”, he said underlining the importance of urgent need of restoring the dialogue process”. Chairing a meeting of prominent citizens, representatives of traders, hoteliers, travel agents, house boat owners, artisans, taxi operators, shopkeepers, shikara union, transporters and members of the civil society here, Chief Minister said that in a democratic setup expression of views is the right of every citizen. However, he said that anger should not be expressed by throwing stones and disturbing law and order as there are other democratic methods of registering protest. “Maintenance of law and order and tranquility is the responsibility of both the citizens and the government”, he said adding that both should complement each other in this task. Omar said while the government is determined to discipline the troops and book the violators of human rights, it is the responsibility of the senior citizens to play their role in influencing those who indulge in stone pelting. He said hartals and law and order disturbances mar the educational career of students and thereby effect their future career prospects. Stating that rumour mongers and vested interests take advantage of such situations and add fuel to the fire, he said, “We have to be cautious about such elements, identify them and isolate them”. The Chief Minister impressed upon the civil society the need to rise to the occasion and help in restoration of peace and order in the state. “Peace is a must to enable us to move forward on all fronts whether political, social, economic or developmental. The civil society should move hand in hand with the government and be watchdogs of government and suggest wherever a course correction is required,” he said. Omar said that his resolve to address the Kashmir issue politically came out forthrightly in his speech that he made before the Prime Minister and UPA Chairperson on the occasion of inauguration of Qaziqund – Islamabad Railway track. “I categorically said that Kashmir problem is a political one and it needed a political solution. Economic packages can have their role but these alone cannot address the aspirations of the people of the state”, he said. The speakers in the meeting were unanimous in appreciating Omar for initiatives in addressing the Kashmir problem politically. They stressed on enforcing maximum restraint on the troops and suggested a more pro-active role for the J&K Police and the need to respect the institutions of administration and making them more accountable and transparent. They gave various suggestions about handling such situation and maintaining calm in the state. They also appreciated the role of civil society of Jammu in the present situation by defeating the designs of the vested interests. “Kashmiris have always welcomed the Yatris and the tourists as their guests and will continue to do so in the future as well”. The Chief Minister assured them that their suggestions would be actively considered and the rapport between administration and the civil society further strengthened and institutionalized. The meeting began with prayers for peace to the departed souls of those who lost their precious lives in the recent incidents. Maulana Showkat Hussain recited the Fateha. Those who spoke in the meeting included President KCCI, President FCIK, President KHROF, Chairman JKTA, President Fruit Growers Association, Chairman TAAI, representatives of House boat owners association, President TASK Chairman Taxi operators association , representatives of artisans, representatives of KTMF, General Secretary Shiromani Gurduwara Prabandak, representative of Shopkeepers association, representatives of Transport unions, representatives of Shikara unions, and other senior citizens. The Minister for School Education Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Minister for PHE Taj Mohi-ud-Din, Minister for Rural Development Ali Mohammad Sagar, Minister of State for Tourism Nasir Aslam Wani, Advisors to Chief Minister Mubarak Gul, Devender Singh Rana, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Khursheed Ahmad Ganai, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Naseema Lankar were also present in the meeting.