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Our efforts to decrease forces’ footprints were squandered by PDP-BJP govt: Omar

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Promises ‘comprehensive program for rehabilitation of stone-pelters’

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Srinagar, Apr 04: National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on Saturday asserted that all the major gains in decreasing the footprints of security forces, mellowing down of PSA and efforts to do away with AFSPA were put into a chasm by the former PDP-BJP government.

He said once NC comes to power, “we will make renewed efforts to bring respite to the people”.

Addressing a public meet at Rajpura, Pulwama, NC vice-president, according to a party press release said in the forthcoming Assembly elections, the party will come up with a “comprehensive program for rehabilitation of stone-pelters”.

“I have already taken a pledge that once in power with a strong mandate we will obliterate PSA from the law books of the state. During my previous stint as CM, I brought some changes to the PSA (Public Safety Act) to make it more juvenile-friendly. In my tenure, I raised the issue of decreasing the footprint of armed forces in various areas; my government actually did lessen the grid of bunkers. I made earnest efforts to impress on the need of removing AFSPA from the areas where situation was considerably peaceful,” he claimed.

“However, the PDP-BJP was not able to keep up momentum of my good work. Today we have a situation wherein our highways have been snatched from us. What good was achieved by bringing down the footprints of security forces in my time was also put into an abyss by the former BJP-PDP government,” he added.

“Today Mehbooba has bequeathed such a situation in Kashmir that she herself is not able to canvass for parliamentary elections, particularly in south Kashmir areas. It is Masoodi Sahib, who has taken a lead in making a point to visit all the poll-bound areas of south Kashmir. I am sure that the enthusiasm of the people of south Kashmir will give more clout to him to work for the protection of Article 370 and Article 35-A both inside and outside the parliament,” Omar Abdullah said.

Censuring the Modi-led BJP government, he said, “Had the BJP government been able to deliver on any of its promises it had made to the people of India in the run-up for 2014 elections it would not have hunched too low to seek votes in the name of Balakot, and Pulwama. We see them not speaking on their achievements. Their raising of emotive issues is rather an oblique acceptance of failure by them,” NC leader said.

He said “people have made it a point to teach them a lesson for squandering the precious mandate of 2014.”

Referring to Article 370 and Article 35-A as being the articles of faith for NC, Omar said, “The articles ensure the citizenry of our state certain unbridgeable rights in jobs, land rights and scholarships; any move to scuttle the articles will have far-reaching consequences on the people of the state. So it is imperative for the people across the state, in particular the people of south Kashmir to vote for NC. This time every vote you cast will set the course of our state for the next half-a-decade. This time you will be voting for securing your identity which is facing unbridled attacks from all sides.”

Flaying Mehbooba Mufti for shedding “crocodile tears” on the miseries of people, he said, “The election-time crocodile tears are political tears whose veracity is under question. Had PDP president and the ex-chief minister shed tears when our youth were devoured in 2016, it would have had some impact.

“One may ask her as to where was her concern when people of Kashmir were subjected to worst of human rights violations, killings, blinding and much more. It was during her tenure that people were used as human-shield. Where was her sympathy and empathy for those who were blinded, bruised during her tenure? People are the good judge of character of PDP and its stint in power,” he said.

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