Omar Concerned over Growing Inclination Among Youth to Join Militancy

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Omar ABdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah also said that assembly polls should be held “as soon as possible” in Jammu and Kashmir

JAMMU  — Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Tuesday expressed concern over the growing inclination among Kashmiri youths to take to militancy in the Kashmir Valley.

Addressing party workers here, Abdullah said: “Shrinking space has pushed the youth to the wall.

“Compared to just a dozen or more youth drawn towards militancy in a span of years during my tenure as Chief Minister, far more than this number are taking to arms on a monthly basis.”

The National Conference leader described the increase in terror related violence as alarming and disturbing, saying terrorism was raising its head even in hitherto militancy free areas.

“In my tenure, Chenab Valley had been declared as militancy free zone. But now the acts of terror are reported from there,” he said, referring to the killing of a BJP leader in Kishtwar along with his brother, terror attacks in Sunjwan and grenade throwing on the busy B.C. Road in Jammu.

“Terror activities have unfortunately become routine in the Valley. Due to lack of vision it is spreading its tentacles in other parts as well,” he said, blaming the BJP and PDP for shrinking the space for youth by throttling avenues of jobs, resulting in alienation.

Recalling the pro-active anti-militancy operations during Mehbooba Mufti’s tenure as Chief Minister, Abdullah said: “Mufti must not mistake public memory being so short as not to remember her 2016 doctrine that the guns in the hands of the security forces were not just for showcasing but using.

“We owe our youth a peaceful, progressive and inclusive Jammu and Kashmir for bequeathing to posterity,” he said, adding that the National Conference cadre will have to work overtime to retrieve the state of yesteryears when people used to live in harmony.

Abdullah questioned the BJP government’s proposed bill on 10 per cent reservation in jobs and education to economically weak segments in the general category across the country.

“If BJP was really sincere towards youth, why such a bill has been slated on the last day of Parliament Session?”

He said the BJP had a definite game-plan to generate passions in case the bill faces rough weather in Parliament or does not stand to the scrutiny of courts.

Early Assembly polls

Meanwhile, Omar Abdullah said on Tuesday that assembly polls should be held “as soon as possible” in Jammu and Kashmir to put in place an elected government to run affairs of the state, which is under the President’s rule.

The National Conference (NC) vice-president also took a dig at some politicians and bureaucrats for “creating hurdles” in holding of elections of assembly jointly with parliament elections in the state.

“We want that polls should be held as soon as possible in the state and an elected government in the state is formed so that they run the affairs of state”, Mr Adbullah told reporters in Jammu.

He was replying to a question whether his party wants to hold assembly and parliamentary polls jointly in the state.

“Either he (Union home minister Rajnath Singh) has deceived the Parliament. If you say Rajnath Singh sahib has deceived Parliament, what can I say (on holding of joint elections in J&K),” he said.

The former chief minister said he “clearly” heard Mr Singh saying in parliament that “whatever number of forces is required by election commission for holding Assembly and Lok Sabha elections together, we will provide them”.

The NC vice-president took note of alleged attempts being made to delay polls in the state.

“Some people do not want elections at this time. Some politicians are trying to create hurdles and also some bureaucrats want this system (Governor”s rule) to continue so that their accountability is not checked,” Mr Abdullah said.

The former chief minister also took a dig at Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik over his reported remarks that J&K is like any other state and Patna records more murders in a day than J&K.

“To say Jammu and Kashmir is like any other state, it is wrong. If this Governor, who has been Governor of Bihar before, says like this, then Nitish Kumar (Bihar CM) has to clarify”, he said.

Mr Abdullah said article 370, article 35-A and accession differentiate Jammu and Kashmir from other states.

He said his party has not changed its stand on Article 35-A, which guarantees special rights and privileges to permanent residents of the state, and is doing whatever possible to defend it.

Referring to prominent political leaders joining the National Conference, Mr Adbullah decried the statement of PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, describing leaders leaving her party as “garbage”. He said the statement speaks volumes about “lowest depths” of political discourse. — Agencies

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