Srinagar: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Sunday claimed that New Delhi was ready to talk to separatists “but the latter were reluctant to talk to them and were instead holding meeting with agencies in closed rooms.”
“Our job is just to facilitate talks between center and Hurriyat and we did that. Talks on Kashmir issue had to be carried by Hurriyat people. New Delhi is ready for that but separatists are not,” Omar told KNS in an exclusive interview.
“In closed rooms they (separatists) meet different people. But people like Ramjeth Malani who come without anything they talk to him. They (separatists) take tea with agency people in restaurants and five stars and hold secret talks. But they don’t want to talk with center in open,” he said and added “Center is ready for talks, but with whom they will talk. NC, PDP, Congress and BJP say we will solve the issue within constitution and they are talking with center. But those who want to solve it outside constitution (Separatists) they are not ready for talks.”
Asked to comment about separatists claims that New Delhi wasn’t serious on dialogue, Omar said, “Here lie is repeated so many times that people start thinking it is truth. Last time Prime Minister told them (separatists) that they should put their demands in shape of a memorandum. Let them show it to the people whether they have put it before the PM. Center told them to give charter of demands on record which they didn’t.”
Asked to comment on his recent statement that some elements within Hurriyat were ready to contest elections, the Chief Minister said, “What I said is some elements like Sajjad Lone are ready. He contested parliament elections in 2009 also. Others should follow. Some separatists are fielding proxies. But people know that.”
Without naming Jamiat-e-Islami and Syed Ali Shah Geelani, he said, “There target has always been NC. They help other parties through back channels. They give boycott call on one side and use militants to threaten people then on the other side they ask their people to vote for those parties.
Omar said that they have talked about Kashmir issue within as well as outside Assembly. “As far as political issues are concerned I think no government in past might have talked about this issue so clearly.”
On revocation of AFSPA, he said, “It is an issue where different people have different ideas. Should I accept defeat only after two years? Should I leave my mission? Those who have been demanding azadi for last 25 years and have failed then they should also accept defeat. In democracy everybody has his own perception. Those who don’t want AFSPA to go highlight Hyderpora like incidents. Then I quote Bandipora and Ramban incidents.”
“Army has taken a tight line on AFSPA and we want dialogue on it. Was AFSPA an issue before two years? But now wherever you go people talk about it. Now it has become an issue after talked about it,” he claimed.
Asked to comment on Sageer Committee report implementation, the Chief Minister said, “It is before CSC and they will see what can be implemented. It has asked for some more time. Different parties have different thinking. Coalition partners have different ideas which can be solved through talks. Political thinking is always different in coalitions.”
On autonomy he said, “For autonomy there is need for a dialogue. Situation is peaceful in the state, but New Delhi is busy with elections now. Kashmir issue isn’t an election issue neither in Pakistan nor in India. If talks will happen it wont happen before elections.”
Omar warned those elements who think Afzal Guru’s hanging had no impact in Kashmir. “I had warned New Delhi that it will have a long term impact in Kashmir. Situation in valley is more and less peaceful. What is happening in valley this time isn’t related with Afzal Guru. Yes it has an impact on the minds of people of Kashmir. Long term effect it will have. How it will that has to be seen. But if some one thinks that there will be no impact is wrong,” he added.
On track II, he said, “Nothing has come from Nawaz Sharif government as of now. Only Mushraf had shown some relaxation on Kashmir. It is true Nawaz Sharif has taken some steps for revival of peace process but nothing has changed in Kashmir. Infiltration attempts are on rise.”
Indo-Pak friendship is always in the interests of Kashmiris.
Asked to comment on PDP patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s recent statement that Omar has eroded the sanctity of the CM chair, he said, “I don’t want to react on it. I don’t take his or his daughter’s statement serious. It is Mufti who is using Raj Bhavan to grab the power. If there is one person who eroded special status of the state it is Mufti. What he did 1984 and who sent Jagmohan as governor. He begged in 2005 for CM’s chair. Will he give lecture to me? I know what he did to remain in power. He played Women’s Bill to remain in power. Rehabilitation resolution, he defeated in House to remain in power.”
On Mufti allegation of police and Army highhandedness, Omar said, “Weren’t people dying in Mufti’s tenure. Just two days after he took over as CM, a mason was killed outside his house, an imam and his son were killed, cricket playing children were killed in Handwara and so on. When he sent Jagmohan as governor 50 people used to be killed in a day. His spokesman puts something in his ear and newspaper carry it.”
However, the Chief Minister said, “I don’t say what is happening should happen. But it isn’t new. What was happening earlier has come down. Bandipora was the first incidents this year and we won’t allow it to happen in future. Who provoked people in Ramban has to be seen. Molvi spread rumours that Holy Quran has been desecrated which were baseless. It was that molvi who provoked people against BSF. Molvi provoked people to attack the camp,” he claimed.
Omar also rejected Mufti’s claims that NC government neglected city in the last four and half years. “When he (Mufti) was CM for three years how much he spent for development of Srinagar. What system he wants to change now. They ignored whole city. I don’t need lectures from such people,” he told KNS.
Terming center’s inability to take action against army men involved in Pathribal fake encounter as its weakness, he said,” CBI has found evidences against Army. If they (center) wants to win the hearts of people of Kashmir they should punish the guilty. People have lost the faith on institutions because of such issues.”
“We have challaned all the incidents in the court. We have filed cases and now they are in courts. We have investigated everything. Pathribal happened in 2000 and case is still in court. I have told them (center) if they want to win back Kashmiris they have to do the justice with people,” he added.
Asked about preparation of his party for next elections, the Chief Minister said, “Election is almost one and half years away. If opposition wants to tire them before elections we have no problem. When we lost elections in 2002 we were still single largest party. Candidate matters in the elections now. We have to work carefully on selecting candidates.”
On reports of formation of third front he said, “It is good. It had come in 2008 also. These fronts become after elections. They fight for leader. Who will lead it is a big question,” Omar told KNS.
Asked whether NC will enter into coalition with Congress before or after the elections, he said, “Farooq sahib has been authorised by the working committee to take a decision. Congress too has to take a decision. High commands of both the parties will take decision on it.”
Omar ruled out possibility of assembly elections in March-April next year and said the polls would be held in October-November 2014. “We have working season which is summer and we will complete that. We also see who comes to power in center. We will also see what we can do at political and developmental front during that period,” he told KNS.
On recent sectarian clashes in Budgam, Omar said, “Some people are behind it. There has been carelessness at the level of administration. We were busy with Gool incident. At lower level administration should have settled the issue,” he added.