Former Chief Minister and National Conference working president Omar Abdullah Tuesday questioned that if state government doesn’t know anything about the current situation, then who was running the state.
Talking to Kashmir News Service (KNS) he said, “Nobody knows who is at the control of situation at the moment. I am surprised that Chief Minister is unaware of situation. First they said CM was aware of Burhan’s encounter and now they are saying she didn’t know. Then they say media ban was imposed to control the situation, now they say they didn’t impose any ban and those who did it will be punished.”
“They (government) said they will probe the excessive use of force. Yesterday Muzaffar Beig said that if anyone has controlled the forces it is prime minister and not the chief minister. If chief minister is unaware of the situation, and neither she knows about the encounter, nor she knows about the decisions of the government and has no control over forces then it is clear that we are in a big trouble,” the former CM said.
Asked whether there were any lapses on part of police and administration in Burhan encounter, he said, “There could be two possibilities. Either the government underestimated the situation which could arise out of Burhan’s killing, or if they estimated it right they were ill prepared to deal with it. Who chairs unified command? If there is any lapse it is at the highest level. The way they should have dealt the situation, they didn’t.”
On PDP MP Muzaffar Beig’s assertions that Supreme Court SOPs were violated in Burhan encounter, Omar told KNS that, “I don’t want to go into this debate. What I know is that there came different versions from the state government. One police officer gave a statement that they were giving minute to minute update to the Chief Minister. Then he retracted after he was probably scolded. I know when militant commanders are in cordon the chief minister is immediately informed. When I was chief minister, the CID or DG police would inform me whenever any senior militant was caught in cordon. I can’t buy this theory that Mehbooba wasn’t aware of Burhan encounter. And if she didn’t know it, then the police officers who hid this important information from her what action was taken against them. Because of their carelessness dozens of people have died and thousands are injured.”
On the reports that centre government was directly dealing with the security situation in Kashmir, the former CM said, “If our state government doesn’t know anything about the situation, then who is running the state. If I say it frequently that the center of our state government is in Nagpur then it proves me right.”
Asked whether the PDP’s decision to go with BJP could be one of the reasons for the current turmoil he said, “There are so many reasons. Most of the protests happened in Mehbooba’s parliament constituency of Anantnag, Shopian, Pulwama, Kulgam. It isn’t only the killing of Burhan that triggered the current unrest, but there are other reasons also. We can go into these details once the situation improves.”
On allegations of NC fuelling the current unrest, he said, “It is being propagated by the same people who in 2010 created the same situation to destabilize my government. In 2010 Mehbooba and (late) Mufti sahib left no stone unturned in Delhi to overthrow me. They said if Omar Abdullah is dethroned, 80 percent situation will improve. Now they think I am doing the same. But the reality is that in the present turmoil we all will be losers. Such situation isn’t in the interests of NC. It is misconception if PDP is damaged, it will benefit NC. Reality is that current situation it is mainstream political parties who are losers.”
He said state government didn’t learn any lesson from 2008 and 2010 situations. “Rajnath Singh said in Parliament yesterday that he wanted to visit Srinagar but wasn’t allowed to do so by Mehbooba Mufti. You can’t hold Center responsible for the current unrest,” the NC working president told KNS.
However, he said, that Kashmir issue can’t be solved by force. “By sending more force, New Delhi can’t solve the issue. I have been saying it that J&K issue is not issue of money or militancy, but a political issue and has to be addressed politically. I told it to Prime Minister during a function that you send money here for which we are thankful, but Kashmir issue can’t be solved by economic packages. I said it in the Assembly that we have not merged with the union but have only done accession.”
He also lashed out at those people who were debating Kashmir issue on TV channels in Delhi. “The wearer knows where the shoe pinches. They can’t understand our pain. They shouldn’t give lectures to us,” he said.
On Mehbooba’s victory margin in recently held by-polls in Anantnag he said, “Only 30 percent people voted during that election and now 70 percent others who didn’t vote are on streets.”
Asked whether NC would participate in all party meeting called by Mehbooba on July 21, the former CM said, “We have not taken any decision on it. I will sit with my colleagues and then only take a decision.”