His speech has cost him dearly, Omar on Drabu’s removal from state cabinet

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Srinagar, Mar 12 (UNI) Reacting to reports that Finance Minister Dr Haseeb Drabu has been removed from the state cabinet over his remarks on Kashmir issue, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah said his speech has cost him dearly.

Mr Abdullah, who is the working president of National Conference (NC), said it will be interesting to see who will replace Drabu in the Finance Ministry.

“His PHDCCI speech cost him dearly. Will be interesting to see who replaces him in the Finance Ministry,” Mr Abdullah wrote on micro-blogging site twitter.

Mr Abdullah was reaction to reports that Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday removed Dr Drabu from her cabinet for his remarks that Kashmir is not a political issue.

The statement by Dr Drabu created a political storm in the valley and had drawn criticism from the ruling PDP, opposition and separatists alike. The decision by Mehbooba-led government comes at when the PDP and its coalition partner, the BJP, are at loggerheads on a range of issues, including over rape and murder case of Asifa Bano in Kathua in Jammu region.

“Don’t see J&K as a conflict state and a political issue. It is a society which has social issues right now. We are trying to find our own space and we are going through a process which many other countries are also going through,” Dr Drabu had said at an event ‘Kashmir: The Way Forward’, organised by the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry at New Delhi.

“It (J&K) is not a political issue as far as I can see. They have been barking up the wrong tree for the last 50 or 70 years by talking about the politics of it, that the political situation has never improved. We seriously need to look at in terms of how it is a society that is in search for itself,” he had said.

The PDP had on Sunday demanded an explanation from Dr Drabu and asked him to retract his statement immediately as it was contradictory to their stand.

The main opposition National Conference (NC) had also demanded explanation from the Chief Minister on the statement of Drabu and questioned PDP’s stand on Kashmir issue, including Self Rule. Separatist organisations had also reacted sharply against Drabu’s statement.

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