Panchayat poll boycott call won't have any impact: CM13 December 2010
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said today that the call of separatists and few other outfits for boycott of ensuing Panchayat elections in the State will not have any impact on the polls as they had been giving such calls time and again and the people have defied them repeatedly. 'There is nothing new (in the boycott call of elections). They (the separatists) had given such calls in the past also. Despite their boycott calls, the people had participated in the elections in large number and they will do so this time as well', Mr Abdullah said while speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function to flag off a tour of children's from the State to different parts of the country at Zorawar Singh auditorium in Jammu University. He said the State Government was not worried about the boycott call of Panchayat elections given by the separatists including hardline Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and would go ahead with the polls for devolution of powers at the grass root level. Omar said the Panchayat elections would be held on non-party basis so that more people are involved in them. 'The elections would empower the people at grass root level and that is what the State Government wants', he added. It may be mentioned here that the State Government has decided to go ahead with the Panchayat elections after a gap of more than 10 years. The Election Department has already been sounded about the Government decision to hold the elections, which could start by the end of January and completed by April. The exercise would be spread to more than three months due to a variety of factors including winter, militancy and other disturbances. Political Advisor to Chief Minister Devender Singh Rana and Medical Education Minister R S Chib accompanied Abdullah among others. Replying to a question on the fate of Parliament attack convict, Afzal Guru, the Chief Minister said the law should take its own course on him. 'There is a legal course to be followed. We can't go by what the Opposition or some other organizations say. Process has to be completed under a system and let it be completed in case of Guru as well', he added. 'Why should we assume anything', Abdullah said in response to a question on the impact of Guru's hanging in the Kashmir valley. He said he stood by his statement on Afzal Guru that judicial process in his case should be completed irrespective of its implications in the country and the State. 'I stand by what I had said earlier. There is no change in my statement'. The Chief Minister declined to comment on a question about the transfer of Northern Command's Public Relations Officer (PRO) Lt Col Pradeep Kochar for a controversial press release on Srinagar encounter. GOC-in-C, Northern Command Lt Gen B S Jaswal had later apologized to the Chief Minister for the remarks made in the press note. Lt Col Kochar was transferred to New Delhi Headquarters of the Army. Replying to a question, he said the Government was trying to find out the facts about physical assault on the youth of Kashmir, who were on way to attend a police recruitment rally in Anantnag yesterday, by the stone pelters. 'We would find out the details and take necessary action', he added. While flagging out the children of the State to different parts of the country including Kashmiri boys at Zorawar Singh auditorium in Jammu University this evening, Mr Abdullah observed that the tour would help remove misconceptions about Kashmir in India. Also, the Kashmiri boys will see India with their own eyes, most of them for the first time, and realized that how much they are loved in the country. 'The children could act as ambassadors of peace from Kashmir in India. They would feel the pulse of the country and tell it to their families, neighbours, colleagues and others that the people of Kashmir are loved in India. This would send a good message in the Valley as well as the entire country', Omar said. He added that the tour would help in minimizing the gap between the people of India and Kashmir. He called for more such cultural exchange between the youth of the State and the country. 'Such tours would also help contain the incidents of stone pelting', he asserted.