New Delhi: A delegation of major opposition parties in Kashmir on Saturday met President Pranab Mukherjee at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi to apprise him of the situation in the Valley and demanded a probe by a retired Supreme Court judge into allegations of excessive use of force by security personnel. Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah called on the President requesting him to urge upon the central government to find a solution to the present Kashmir crisis politically rather than administratively.
“The failure of the central government to acknowledge that the issue in Kashmir is largely of a political nature has worsened the already volatile situation,” Omar, who was leading a delegation of 20 opposition leaders, told reporters after an hour-long meeting with the President.
The delegation, led by Abdullah, apprised President with “real” situation on ground and also requested resumption of the dialogue process between all stakeholders. The decision to meet the president came after a meeting between all major opposition parties in Kashmir, held on Wednesday. Leaders of Congress, National Conference, Communist Party, Democratic Party Front, Awami Ittehad Party and People’s Democratic Front were a part of the delegation.
Speaking to the press after meeting the President, Omar Abdullah said that the situation in Kashmir should be blamed upon the ruling Mehbooba Mufti government and not on Pakistan. “Pakistan has been responsible for problems in Kashmir from last 25 years. What happened after Burhan Wani’s killing is a result of our own mistakes,” Omar told reporters after the meeting.
He added that Pakistan may have incited the fire lit by the Indian government’s faulty handling of the situation but the fault primarily lies with the Jammu and Kashmir government.”
The former Chief Minister, who was flanked by Congress MLAs led by state PCC Chief G A Mir, CPM MLA M Y Tarigami and Independent legislator Hakim Yaseen, said, “The fire that has been raging in Kashmir Valley for last 42 days has already started spreading across Peer Panjal and Chenab Valley in Jammu region and Kargil area.”
“I wonder when would they wake up as the situation is grave,” he said, alleging that the state and central governments were trying to “crush the agitation by using administrative measures” like stopping sale of petrol and other essential commodities.
Launching an attack on her political adversary and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti, he said “total administrative failure” and a state of complete “anarchy” is what is responsible for the situation in the valley. He compared the present crisis and the situation in 2010 violence during his tenure. He said that the crisis did not spiral out of control back then because the political leadership accepted its fault and took fire-fighting measures. The Mufti government, he said is denying responsibility.
“This is a political problem and that is about it. We cannot escape the fact by blaming Pakistan,” he said.
Accusing the BJP-PDP coalition of inaction, Abdullah also said that it is the first time in history that initiatives that should have been taken up by the government,are being taken by opposition parties.
He also bemoaned the lack of political will to resume dialogue stating, “It’s sad that the statements expected from political leadership are coming from the Army leadership. The Army had said that dialogue is the way forward.”
“It was opposition parties which pressurised the government for holding a debate in Parliament and it is again the opposition parties which are pushing the state government to find a political solution to the problem,” he said.
Omar warned that a “continued delay to engage with the people of the state through a comprehensive and sustained political initiative will further deepen the sense of alienation in the Valley and cast a shadow of uncertainty on its future generation”.
Meanwhile, Union Home Minister and BJP leader Rajnath Singh replied to Abdullah’s stinging comments made on Friday.
Abdullah had earlier said “The Centre has been saying ‘Kashmir is integral part of India’; they are not talking about the Valley people, they are only taking about the land of Kashmir.”