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Omar dares PM to prove his words ‘have weight’

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Says Modi-govt is ‘weakening the relationship’ between the Union and J&K

Srinagar, Mar 07: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah Thursday asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to prove that his words have weight and are implemented on the ground following an assault on two Kashmiris in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

He said Lucknow-like incidents “hurt the idea of India in Kashmir”.

Two Kashmiris selling dry fruit were thrashed by a group of saffron-clad men in Lucknow Wednesday evening, following which four persons have been arrested.

"What message do they (attackers) want to convey? What do they want to tell us? That this state is theirs but not its people, that Kashmir will remain part of India, but not Kashmiris? When accession (with the Union) took place, it was not only about land, but its people as well.

"You own the land, but not its people, then how do you even think that the people here will say yes they are your integral part. Just owning the land is not enough, you have to own the people here," Abdullah said.

He was addressing a function here where former PDP MLA Mohammad Shafi Wani joined the National Conference.

Referring to prime minister's speech in the Tonk area of Rajasthan last month where he asserted that "our fight is for Kashmir, not against Kashmiris", Abdullah said either his words were not being implemented or they were just a "jumla".

"You (PM) have to prove whether your words have weight or not, you have to prove that when you talk as the PM of this country, your words are implemented or not, you have to prove that the political structure you have grown up in, learnt politics from and, to some extent, lead, whether you have your say or not in that structure," the former chief minister said.

Earlier, in a series of tweets, Abdullah said Lucknow like incidents hurt the idea of India.

"Nothing will do more damage to the idea of India in J&K than videos like these. Keep thrashing Kashmiris like this on the streets at the hands of RSS/Bajrang Dal goons & then try to sell the idea of 'atoot ang' (Integral part), it simply won't fly," Abdullah said.

"Dear PM @narendramodi Sahib, this is what you had spoken against & yet it continues unabated. This is the state governed by your handpicked Chief Minister. Can we expect action in this case or do we file your concern & assurances as a jumla, meant to placate but nothing more?" he asked.

Omar Abdullah also alleged the BJP-led government at the Centre is "weakening the relationship" between the Union and Jammu and Kashmir.

“Our party has never questioned the accession. We have always said that whatever we achieve, we will achieve from the Constitution of this country. But, under the Constitution, everyone has equal rights – of safety and security.

“(However), which Constitution do I talk about when my people are not protected, which flag do I talk about when these people (attackers) take refuge in the (national) flag and attack my people. What law do I talk about when your own chief minister does not uphold it,” he said.

Omar Abdullah said the state's relationship with the Union cannot be made stronger by choking the voice of the people.

“When questions arise, it is not my job to answer them, but yours (Prime Minister Narendra Modi) and of your colleagues. You cannot keep J-K through conspiracies. The relationship of J-K with India cannot be made stronger by choking the voice of the people here. You are weakening this relationship,” he said.

The former chief minister said his grandfather and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah had warned that Delhi will try to create leaders in every nook and corner of the Valley so that the people of Kashmir do not talk in one voice.

“And that is really what is happening … Why is a third front being created in Kashmir only and not in Jammu? When youth come into politics in Kashmir, they create new parties which does not happen in Jammu or Ladakh. I cannot understand this. It seems all this is done intentionally,” he said.

Abdullah said Kashmir was being used as a laboratory for experiments by the Centre and assured the people “to foil such designs” once the party returns to power.

“Kashmir is being used as a laboratory for experiments. They mix this and that so that there is some smoke from anywhere and they do their work through these experiments. But, I hope elections take place as soon as possible and our party comes into power. Then, we will make sure all their plans are foiled,” he said.

Referring to the ban of Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI), Abdullah said the crackdown on the organization would not help in improving the situation in the Valley.

“There is well-thought-out plan to disturb the situation here. Everyone knows that NC and JeI have been at loggerheads but we have fought each other politically. We know that the action against them will not benefit the state. It was banned for five years in 1990, but it did not help improve the situation.

“The situation was better in 2011, 2012, 2013 or 2014 (when Abdullah was the chief minister), but there was no ban on JeI. If only JeI is responsible for disturbing the situation, then how did the situation improve after 1995. In that case, the situation should not have improved,” he said.

The NC vice-president expressed hope that assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir would be announced along with the general elections to the Lok Sabha.

“We asked the Election Commission to conduct election in the state. This government is not concerned about the people. They take political decisions rather than care about the people. Every political party – whether the NC, the PDP or the Congress – have asked for immediate polls.

"We hope that when (general) elections are announced in a few days, assembly polls in J-K are also announced. It should be our endeavour to have a single party government in the state,” he said.

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