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We are made to feel different from rest of the country: Omar Abdullah

PTI Srinagar | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on August 15, 2013

Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah delivers speech during the 67th Independence Day celebrations in Srinagar on Thursday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

Citing discussion on Kishtwar violence in Parliament, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today said the “differential treatment” to his state compared to other parts of the country was fuelling alienation among its people.

“I am often asked why do people of Jammu and Kashmir feel different from the people of the rest of the country. We do not feel separate but are made to do so by the different attitude towards us. Today I will explain it,” Omar said in his Independence Day speech at Bakshi stadium here.

He said whenever he pondered over the question, he was not able to reach a conclusion, but the way Kishtwar communal clashes were presented before rest of the country provided the answer.

Omar quoted figures from the Union Home Ministry on the deaths in communal riots that took place last year and up to March this year which included 34 deaths in Uttar Pradesh and 13 deaths in Maharashtra during 2012.

“Were these incidents discussed in Parliament? Forget about leaders visiting these places, did they mention it on twitter,” he said in an apparent reference to BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.

“What happened in Kishtwar was condemnable. More so because it happened during my tenure as Chief Minister. We have announced a judicial commission and its findings will be made public,” he said.

Apparently referring to BJP and like-minded parties, Omar questioned the hue and cry raised over the Kishtwar riots.

“Is it for the first time it has happened in the country? Is Kishtwar the only place where this has happened?”

He said he will not compare the riots in Kishtwar with other similar incidents and justify it by pointing out mistakes in other states.

In an oblique criticism of the media, Omar asked why the communal riots in other places of the country did not make it to news channel programmes and newspapers.

“How many TV programmes were dedicated to these incidents and how many columns were written?” he asked.

Integrating J&K with rest of the country

On the BJP agenda of abrogating Article 370 for integrating Jammu and Kashmir with rest of the country, Omar said they were treating the state differently.

“As long as you do this, integration will not happen.

“Changing the law will not make it happen. Change your mindset and approach. If you are not ready to do this, do not blame us,” he said to loud applause from the audience.

On the photographs of dead bodies circulated through internet, which were claimed to be from Kishtwar, Omar said old pictures from some other country were used.

“The policemen in the pictures do not look anything like residents of Jammu and Kashmir. When we went deeper into it, we found the pictures were from Burma and tried to be passed off as from Kishtwar,” he said.

The Chief Minister also cautioned people about those elements within the state who want to use incidents like Kishtwar to disturb peace in the state.

“We have to look inwards also. There are people in our ranks, who use rumours to disturb the peaceful situation,” he said.

He expressed concern that people react to rumours without verifying the facts. “I cite the example of a driver from Kulgam who was missing and rumoured to have been killed in Jammu. People came out on roads... When we tracked his cell phone, we found him in a house in Damhal Hanjipora of Kulgam district only,” he said.

Omar appealed to people to maintain peace and communal amity in the state, saying it was the only way to put Jammu and Kashmir on the path of progress.

Published on August 15, 2013
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