New Delhi 03 Nov 2018
Radha says warned GoI of situation going out of hand.
Former chief minister and National Conference (NC) Vice President, Omar Abdullah on Friday said he went into a shell after the 2010 uprising but did not comment on the initiative of Government of India (GoI) of trying to get Salahuddin to return to Kashmir saying he was bound by the oath of secrecy.
Speaking at the launch of New Delhi’s former interlocutor on Kashmir, Radha Kumar’s book, ‘Paradise at War: A political History of Kashmir’, Omar, while referring to the 2010 uprising in which over 110 Kashmiri youth were killed when he was the chief minister of the State, said:
“The year 2010 still haunts me and I tend to question myself whether things could have been handled better. It’s a truth that I retreated into a shell, but my being out wouldn’t have helped.”
The former chief minister said he had worked with the GoI and tried to learn and manage the situation.
“For the 2010 situation, the lion’s share of blame lies on me as I lacked experience and working in a difficult state like Jammu Kashmir compounded the problem,” he said accepting his “mishandling” of the situation during the 2010 uprising.
“Thereafter, till 2016, we had a competitively peaceful period, but I regret that we don’t use peaceful periods for building up solutions and only think when violence is there,” Omar said.
However, he did not comment on the revelations in Kumar’s book that in 2010, GoI was trying to get Salahuddin to return to Kashmir saying, “I’m bound by the oath of secrecy.”
On why Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commanders, Burhan Wani and Mannan Wani and not Omar Abdullah were the role models for Kashmiri youth, the former chief minister said, “I believe in a practical idea that there is no scope of Kashmir’s independence and the State’s future lies only with India.”
The NC vice president said contrary to the current local bodies polls, 2011 panchayat polls in the State had witnessed a good response.
Commenting on Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) President Mehbooba Mufti’s handling the 2016 uprising after the killing of Burhan Wani, Omar said,
“I sympathise with Mehbooba Mufti as she didn’t have anybody to advice her.”
However, he said, “She had a difficult partner unwilling to concede space. In comparison to her, I had my father, who could advise me on difficult situations.”
Accepting that the space for mainstream politics in the State had shrunk, he said, “Now-a-days, even the demand for autonomy is seen as anti-national and if it’s so then everybody in Kashmir is a secessionist.”
Stressing that Pakistan was “just one part of the problem but not the entire problem”, Omar said, “We have local boys joining militancy.”
Omar also ruled out any scope of Kashmir’s independence and said the State’s future was safe only with India.
On the occasion, Kumar started her presentation on an emotional tone saying, “I’m bereft of words on seeing the ground situation in Kashmir.”
Kumar, a feminist, academic and an author, whose work focuses on ethnic conflicts and peace processes from a strongly feminist perspective, was appointed one of the three interlocutors for Jammu Kashmir by the GoI’s Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) in October 2010.
She said the interlocutors’ report which she along with noted journalist Dilip Padgaonkar and former Election Commissioner of India (ECI) M M Ansari presented to the government had warned of “the situation going out of hand if engagements to build peace process were not kept alive”.