People don’t feel safe anywhere in Kashmir: Omar Abdullah

People don't feel safe anywhere in Kashmir: Omar Abdullah
Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Friday said that people don’t feel safe anywhere in Kashmir and if the assembly elections are further delayed then the government of India should accept that the situation in the region is worse than 1996, when elections were held after several years.

Abdullah said that the government’s claim of normalcy amid continued targetted killings of minority community members, policemen and civilians is a farce and some Kashmiri Pandits are even planning to leave the Valley.

“Why can’t assembly elections happen here. Or else GoI should say that the situation in J&K is worse than 1996 when election were held after a gap of several years. If they are ready to accept it then we won’t raise this issue of elections,” said Abdullah while interacting with the reporters in Jammu. The last assembly election took place in J&K in 2014 and there is no elected government in J&K since June 2018, when the BJP withdrew its support from the BJP-PDP coalition government led by Mehbooba Mufti.

The National Conference leader said that the there is a huge gap between government’s narrative and the situation on ground in J&K.

“We were told that Article 370 is the root cause of every problem and that things would normalise after abrogation of this article. They said that gun violence and separatism will end as well. However more than two years later, things haven’t improved on ground. People aren’t feeling safe anywhere in Kashmir. Some areas like Srinagar which had been declared militancy free in our times have seen rise in the militancy. Even in uptown Srinagar people don’t feel safe anymore,” said Abdullah.

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The NC leader said that the number of flights landing in Kashmir and tourist arrivals aren’t the indicators of normalcy on ground. “A policeman is killed outside his home. A government official is shot at inside his office. This is what is happening on ground…Normalcy is when there is no fear on ground and Kashmiri Pandits stop planning to go out of the Valley,” he said.

On the recent Delimitation Commission report Abdullah said that it was prepared following a political agenda and not the ground realities of the J&K.

On the issue of ban on loud speakers, Abdullah said that such decisions will hurt the sentiments of people across the religious spectrum as everybody uses loud speakers. “There should be consultation with the people across the spectrum and they should follow some middle path as per the requirements,” said Abdullah.

On another masjid-temple controversy Abdullah said that the BJP is raking these issues up to distract people from inflation and issues the country is facing. “After ayodhya BJP had made a statement that they won’t raise any other temple issue in the country and focus on development but now they are raising these issues everywhere to keep create a diversion from real issues,” he said.

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