We Need A Statesman, Not A Politician: Omar Abdullah


Srinagar: Omar Abdullah appealed for better central leadership on Thursday as he decried the targeting of Kashmiris across India in the wake of last week’s terrorist attack in Jammu and Kashmir.

A former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said it appeared that those targeting Kashmiris had the blessings of the establishment, pointing out that one state governor had called for a boycott of the community.

Neither the prime minister nor the minister for home affairs spoke of tough action against the perpetrators, Abdullah said, adding that even the leading opposition party, the Congress, was silent on the issue.

There was a need, the National Conference leader said, for a statesman and not a politician. Omar Abdullah said there was a motivated campaign to spread the message that Kashmiris could not be trusted, and said the future of many Kashmiri students was at risk. He said an entire community could not be sacrificed for an election, and that he was concerned by the way they were demonized.

Omar Abdullah pointed out the contrast between Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s outreach to mend ties and incidents like the terrorist attack in Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF jawans were martyred.

Omar Abdullah said such incidents needed to stop for peace talks to take place. He also expressed concern over the withdrawal of security for “mainstream political operators”.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration withdrew security for 18 separatists and 155 politicians on Wednesday. One one hand, Omar Abdullah said, political leaders were being told to be prepared for Lok Sabha and assembly elections, but also, on the other hand, that they no longer deserved the protection of the state.