Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) [India], Sept. 4 (ANI
): Stating that he is not expecting any breakthrough from one meeting as the all-party delegation has a mammoth task ahead them to rebuild the lost credibility, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday said he had made it very clear to the delegation that their lack of follow-up from the previous all-party delegation has discredited this process to a great extent.
"I am not expecting any breakthrough from one meeting. To be honest with you, I made it very clear to this all-party delegation that their lack of follow-up from the previous all-party delegation has discredited this process to a great extent. This all-party delegation has a mammoth task ahead them to rebuild the lost credibility," Omar told reporters after emerging out of the meeting with the delegation
"They are all responsible for it, because they were all part of the 2010 process, and they should have followed up as to what happened with interlocutors' report. They should have owned the outcome of that all-party delegation. Their failure to own the outcome of the 2010 all-party delegation has resulted in a dramatic shrinkage of the number of people and delegations that are willing to meet this time," he added.
He further said in 2010, the cross section of people that was willing to meet the all-party delegation was much wider and much deeper than it is today.
"Today, I fear other than a handful mainstream political party, at least formally, the number of groups from Kashmir meeting this all-party delegation is going to be very small and for that, I am sorry, this mechanism has only itself to blame," he said.
When asked about Hurriyat leaders' denial to hold talks with the delegation, the National Conference president said, "I can't speak for the delegation, but I would like to believe that given 2010 also, a similar sort of informal approach was made by some of the participants of the all-party delegation to Hurriyat leaders at that time. I would like to believe that same is possible today, but again it's for the members of the delegation to make the effort; and, for the leaders of the Hurriyat Conference to actually meet them. I don't think it's a bad thing, if we could do it in the past, I see no reason why we can't do it now."
Asked if there was a lack of coordination between the BJP and the PDP, he retorted "There is a lack of, I think, coordination between the two contradictory sides to (Chief Minister) Mehbooba Mufti herself". "The Chief Minister has herself to decide whether she wants to be the Chief Minister or the leader of the opposition. If she wants to be the leader of opposition, she has to do something else," he added.
Elaborating on his statement, Omar said, "She (Mehbooba Mufti) doesn't know whether she wants to be the government or she wants to be the opposition. And therefore, on the one hand, she says the scarifies of those people killed in this agitation will not go in vain; and, the other hand, she says theses are only five percent, who are not innocent and attacking police stations and they have to be punished.
"She arrests Hurriyat Conference leaders, puts them behind bars and writes them a letter 'please give me the time and place and we will come and meet you'. What time and place, they are in jail, how can they give time and place. I mean there are so much of contradictions that have come from this government, and I am not surprised that we have a problem this nature. I think the first and foremost," he added.
Taking a dig at Mehbooba for stating that only five percent people are agitating in the Valley, the J-K leader of opposition said, "Absolutely not, if it was only the five percent of the population; are you telling me with all the force at your disposal - there is not a single paramilitary force in the country that has not representation in Jammu and Kashmir today, cutting across forces whether it is SSB, ITBP, and even BSF has been re-inducted - and in spite of that if you cannot control what you believe is five percent of the population....and then you appeal to that five percent."
Ridiculing the Chief Minister's statement, Omar said, "Mehbooba Mufti on the one hand says this is the five percent of the population, while on the other hand she says 'please give me another chance I am like your daughter' - another contradiction."
"So, obviously this is not five percent. If it was five percent of the population, would she had to face this sort of situation that she did in Kulgam yesterday, where as a result of her visit, one more fellow lost his life and this four fellows' house was set on fire; or today our district office in Shopian gutted. This is not because it's five percent of population, the spread and the sentiment runs much deeper than that," he added.
When asked whether he thought the all-party mechanism had become redundant, Omar said, "I wasn't very enthused about the all-party mechanism even before they came. It's no secret that I had actually told them that their coming will be of no consequence for the simple reason that our own actions of not following up adequately after the 2010 all-party delegation has resulted in this situation today. So, this all-party delegation has a mammoth task in front of them of trying to rebuild credibility, which unfortunately at this point in time as far as the Kashmir province is concerned, they enjoy very little. All of us on the mainstream side are sort of on the same boat."
"I am saying that you need to open the channels of communication to address the political nature of the problem. You cannot either tire this agitation out or crush it. You cannot buy out a solution to it, and thus you will have to address it politically," he added.
Asked how the situation would be controlled, Omar said, "It is not for me to control the situation."
"I can only cooperate with the government of the day, which we have been doing to the fullest extent. But, it is for the government of the day to take a necessary measure, and by underestimating the scale of the problem, you will not be able to deal with the problem. If in your own head this problem is only five percent, then how can you deal with it? I think you need to recognise the gravity of the situation; you need to recognise how widespread this current agitation is only then you can start taking steps to tackle it," he added.
Answering a question on PAVA shells for pellet guns, the former chief minister said, "We have said that this matter is a political one, which needs to be solved politically. We made them recall the past talks. When late Rajiv Gandhi had come here with the first all-party delegation during the time of Devi Lal, he had said 'except freedom, you keep a small relationship with us and take everything'; then the promise made by Narasimha Rao from Burkina Faso 'sort of azadi, sky is the limit'; our feet never went above the ground forget the sky."
In a rebuke to BJP national secretary Ram Madhav's statement, Omar said, "Today we read Ram Madhav Sahab's statement that 'ask for the moon, but within the constitution'. When we had held talks under 'Aain' (constitution), what happened to that? My father (Farooq Abdullah) had told Narasimha Rao that 'don't take too much time in internal autonomy, lest when you are ready to give there will be nobody to take it'. And, unfortunately, we are facing the same situation today. Even they are ready to give it today there will perhaps only a few to accept that." (ANI