National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah on Monday welcomed response of Union Minister General (Retd) V. K. Singh that stated Hurriyat leaders, just like other citizens of the country had every right to meet people of other countries within India.
“This is what we had been stating from day one. That the Centre’s position on this was wrong and calling off talks with Pakistan over Hurriyat leaders meeting Pakistani diplomats was wrong and a gross over reaction. We are glad better sense has finally prevailed and the Central Government has corrected itself”, Omar Abdullah said while speaking to media persons after addressing party workers at Shehar-e-Khaas, Srinagar.
The National Conference Working President said the Government of India should clarify why the previous PDP-BJP State Government detained Hurriyat leaders in Srinagar last year in order to prevent them from travelling to New Delhi to meet the visiting Pakistani delegation.
“The onus also lies on the State Government to explain why the previous PDP-BJP Government prevented the meeting between Huriyat leaders and the Pakistani diplomats in New Delhi when, as clearly stated by General V. K. Singh, Hurriyat leaders have every right to meet citizens of other countries in India”, the National Conference Working President said.
“Previously we saw how the Central Government called off talks with Pakistan over the issue of Hurriyat leaders visiting the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi ahead of engagement between the two countries. At that time also we called this a gross over-reaction and said this should not be used as a pretext to derail talks between New Delhi and Islamabad. We had stated then what the Central Government has said now – that Hurriyat leaders should not be prevented from meeting visiting Pakistani delegations and this was not an issue that should result in any confrontation between the two countries”, Omar Abdullah added.
The National Conference Working President said Kashmir internally is adversely affected by phases of hostility between New Delhi and Islamabad and that the Valley has seen a worsening of the situation in the last year and a half.
“Because of the uncertainty in Indo-Pak dialogue, there has been a sense of political anxiety and apprehension in Kashmir and this has affected the State adversely. There has been an increase in local youth resorting to armed militancy and a stark decrease in our Tourism inflow – adversely affecting the State’s economy. Perceptions are very important in places like Kashmir and the continued instability in Indo-Pak ties has harmed the State internally. When nothing is legally and constitutionally wrong in Hurriyat leaders meeting Pakistani diplomats, why was this used as a ruse to derail the talks earlier? Who is responsible for the adverse implications this had in Kashmir? These questions need to be answers”, Omar Abdullah further stated.
Addressing party workers at a function organized by Senior NC Leader and MLA Habba Kadal, Shameema Firdous to commemorate the dedication of a Community Center in Kani Kadal to the public, Omar Abdullah said the State Government seemed to be completely clueless in governing the State.
“Ministers are missing and living in the virtual world of press statements and photo-opportunities. People are suffering on the ground as there is nobody to hear them out and address their grievances. We have seen this Government take one insensitive step after another going to the extent of depriving people of their basic ration requirements. This community centre is one of the many the previous Government dedicated to the people across the city. Today, the manner in which Srinagar seems to be neglected and sidelined is dismaying”, the NC Working President added.
The function was attended by various senior party leaders including NC Provincial President Nasir Aslam Wani, Senior NC Leader and MLA Habba Kadal Shameema Firdous and Political Secretary to Working President, Tanvir Sadiq besides various party leaders, office-bearers and activists of the parent, women’s and youth wings.