October 2017 News

Omar Slams Centre's 'lack Of Clarity' On Interlocutor's Mandate

29 October 2017
Greater Kashmir
Muddasir Ali

Srinagar: National Conference working president Omar Abdullah on Sunday hit out at the government of India for 'lack of clarity' on the appointment of Dineshwar Sharma as an interlocutor to start a 'sustained dialogue' with all stakeholders in Jammu and Kashmir. Backing the senior Congress leader P Chidambaram's autonomy remarks yesterday, Omar said that if seeking autonomy, which is enshrined in the Constitution of India, was 'anti-national, then we are proud to be branded anti-national.' Omar said that the union home minister Rajnath Singh had termed Sharma as a representative of the government of India to hold a sustained dialogue with all stakeholders and discuss their genuine demands. But, he said, a minister in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh issued a statement that Kashmir is not a political issue and that Sharma was not an interlocutor but a spokesperson who will talk to people in J&K and not the Hurriyat leaders. This was followed by a statement by the junior Home minister in New Delhi that there would be no talks with Hurriyat, Omar said. - ADVERTISEMENT - On the other hand, he said, the chief minister Mehbooba Mufti described Sharma as an interlocutor, saying he would talk to everybody including the Hurriyat. 'Today everybody is confused. We don't understand that the person who is being sent here, what is the purpose behind it. Since his (Sharma's) announcement as a representative, so many contradictory statements have been issued that even Dineshwar Sharma will be confused about his role,' Omar said, addressing party delegates' session here at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium. 'I appeal to the Centre to put a silencer on ministers who are issuing confusing statements, otherwise the initiative will die before it starts,' he said. Omar said the ministers of the central government do not listen to the Prime Minister. 'The prime minister spoke from Red Fort (on Independence Day)...He said Kashmir's problems can only be resolved by embracing Kashmiris. Wish the ministers had listened to your (PM) speech. It seems your cabinet colleagues were sleeping ... None of them pondered over your speech,' he said. Omar said the situation in the state was worse than what it was in 2014. 'I am disappointed that the situation is not the same... The BJP and the PDP ruined this state. There is not a single place in the state where the people are not complaining and where they are not disappointed over their 2014 decision (of voting for the PDP-BJP),' he said Referring to Chidambaram's statement to media in Rajkot that 'those who talk about Azadi in J&K are actually talking about autonomy', Omar said that he (Chidambaram) was attacked by union ministers who even said that those who talk about autonomy were 'anti-national.' 'This (autonomy) is enshrined in the Constitution of India. We are not asking for something from Pakistan, Russia, Britain or America. We are seeking something from within the Indian constitution. If seeking autonomy under the Indian constitution is anti-national, then we are ready to be branded anti-national,' he said. 'If talking about internal autonomy is anti-national then what are you coming to talk here and the representative who has been selected for talkswhat he is going to come here for,' Omar asked. Jammu and Kashmir can't be compared with other states, Omar said, adding that he has said it in the Assembly also that the state hadn't merged but acceded to the Union of India. 'We have kept our identity protected and have our own flag and constitution. When the accession took place, the government of India got control over defense, currency and foreign affairs. This is all recorded in the Constitution of India. When we demand that restore our autonomy, we are termed anti-national,' he said. Omar said that the central government must respect and restore the conditions on which the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India is based. 'Promises made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir must be fulfilled. Centre should ensure that the conditions on which the accession of the state to the union of India is based should be restored and respected. We want the present uncertainty, bloodshed and violence to end. We want to live with honour and dignity,' he said. In his address, Omar also admitted that they had sometimes 'erred and deviated from the right path, but our pursuit of power has always been to ensure that the people get their promised powers and status.' Stating that J&K was a political issue, Omar said that it can't be resolved through money or use of gun. 'Its solution lies in talks, both at the internal and external levels,' he said. The National Conference working president hit out at the PDP-led government in the state for the 'deteriorating situation' in Kashmir. 'There is destruction everywhere. There is no place in the state where people don't complain and are not suffering,' he said. He said that the 'wrong' policies of the state government were responsible for putting the state on fire in 2016. Today, Omar said, the situation was such that youth who were being trained for joining the police prefer to join militancy. He said that he remembers a speech of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti wherein she blamed him for creation of slain Hizbul commander BurhanWani whose killing triggered the 2016 uprising. 'If due to my mistakes Burhan was created, I am responsible. But you (Mehbooba) tell me how many Burhans and ZakirMusas you created in three years?' Omar asked. He said that the 'incapability' of the state government can be measured from non-conduct of the bye-polls to Anantnag LS seat. 'You will get proof of this in south Kashmir. She resigned from the Anantnag seat but hasn't been able to conduct elections there,' he said. In his speech, the party president Farooq Abdullah talked about 'the way forward' for resolution of Kashmir. He said that dialogue can't be held under the shades of gun. 'The talks are possible only when you are honest and your heart is pure, otherwise they (BJP) are talking about abrogation of Article 370. The dialogue is possible only when you will strengthen Article 370, else it will be a futile exercise,' he said. He accused New Delhi of 'snatching all rights' from the people of J&K. 'You can't suppress people of J&K. You will have to win hearts of the people and for that you will have to restore internal autonomy of the state,' he said. The government of India has a misconception that it can suppress people with the use of force, said Farooq. 'General Sahab (army chief) says that the forces will continue with their operations. How many lakhs of people will you kill? This nation can't be suppressed with your guns. Don't threaten us, we will continue to fight for our rights,' he said. He said that J&K was a political issue and unless it was resolved politically there will be no peace in the state. Referring to arrest of some separatists by the National Investigation Agency for their alleged involvement in funding of militancy, Farooq said: 'If they (NIA) have any proof, why aren't they exposing them. Now they have arrested son and grandson of (UJC chief Syed) Salah-ud-Din.' He asked why the government of India wasn't investigating the alleged funding that was made for creation of political parties in the state to 'write off National Conference from the state's political turf.' 'Who created Mufti Sayeed, tell us? Where from the funding came? It came from Prime Minister to try and see an end of National Conference,' he alleged. He said that National Conference had cautioned the state government against implementation of Goods and Service Tax in J&K. 'Drabusahab, the day is not far when you will be made answerable before people. We had insisted that we should make our own law,' he said, adding that because of GST 'not only big business houses but small traders are facing existential threat in J&K.' 'Drabusahab you befooled people. The day is not far when I will make you answerable. I will not die till then,' Farooq said. He said the then governor Jagmohan was responsible for migrations from Kashmir, saying he had promised the community (Pandits) that he will ensure their return in a few months. 'We will have to ensure their return but not in separate homelands. They will have to live with us. Kashmir is incomplete with them,' he said. Taking a dig at BJP national secretary Ram Madhav, Farooq said: 'Woh mama banahai Kashmir ka. Hai Kya who? Kashmir kyabaraymeinjantakyahaiwho?Tum ho kyaTumharihasiyathai? Zara bullet-proof gadikaybageraao hum bi dekhey.' J&K is a secular state, Farooq said. 'Young people are being taken to Nagpur and brainwashed to become RSS activists. I am cautioning you all people to remain aware of their conspiracies,' he said.