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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Omar says Mehbooba got 'nothing but blessings' from Delhi

'In Handwara, you shamed Police as well the girl; in NIT, you denigrated Police as well as local students; your battle of ideas has ended up a sham'

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz


SRINAGAR, May 28: For the first time face to face with Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti in Legislative Assembly, National Conference acting President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday lashed out at the ruling PDP's handling of different crises while claiming that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s "battle of ideas" had ended up a sham and his party had gone for abject sell-out to grab power twice in the last 15 months in Jammu and Kashmir.

Unlike on the day of obituary reference on Thursday when both of them stood absent, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti as well as the leader of opposition Omar Abdullah were present when Speaker initiated the motion of thanks on Governor’s address. Earlier, all through the Question Hour, entire opposition joined hands while occupying the well, waving banners, shouting slogans and staging walkout over a host of issues.

For the first time, NC MLAs shouted slogans and waved banners against 'State terrorism'. They alleged that on April 12 and 13, Police and security forces had killed five innocent civilians including a woman in Handwara after some people complained that a soldier of Army had molested a teenage girl student. They asked why the timebound magisterial enquiry report had not been made public.

In a significant intervention, Speaker Kavinder Gupta claimed that the enquiry had been completed. He assured the House that its report would be made public "within a couple of days".

The motion of thanks began with a speech by PDP's Baramulla MLA Javaid Hassan Baig. Omar was just the second speaker on the panel.

In his 45-minute speech, Omar gave a run down of the pre-election and post-election developments that led to forging of alliance between PDP and BJP besides the coalition's "mishandling" of several crises since Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s taking over as CM on March 1, 2015. He claimed that Mehbooba's government had neither direction nor a vision as, according to him, it was only the result of PDP's sellout and surrender before New Delhi and BJP just for grabbing power in J&K.

Omar reminded a cool and calm Mehbooba that her PDP had campaigned more against BJP and RSS than NC and Congress in the Assembly elections of 2014 and sought vote only to ensure that BJP and its communal wings didn't rule Jammu and Kashmir. "But after the results were out, you turned down our hand of friendship and chose to become bedfellows with BJP and RSS. You brought out the agenda of alliance and assured everything under the sky from flood relief to rollback of AFSPA. But your own MLAs and leaders lamented publicly after Mufti Sahab’s death that there had been no implementation of the promises held out to PDP in the Agenda of Alliance", Omar addressed Mehbooba directly.

"For three months, you said repeatedly that you wouldn't accept CM's chair until there were some Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) with regard to implementation of the Agenda of Alliance. Then you planted stories in media through your spokesman  (Naeem Akhtar) that AFSPA would be withdrawn, power projects would be restored to J&K, huge flood relief would come for distribution and Srinagar and Jammu would be incorporated as Smart Cities. Nothing of it came. Then you suddenly rushed to Delhi and declared that you were satisfied with the meeting with Prime Minister. Can you tell us what exactly made you satisfied?", Omar said.

"But within minutes, BJP's interlocutor called media and asserted that neither the PDP leader had asked for anything nor the PM had granted her anything. He said that the PDP leader had only sought PM's blessings. This is totally different from what you had demanded earlier", Omar said.

Omar suggested that Mehbooba rushed in to form the government with BJP when rumours spread that some of PDP's MLAs were planning to form the government without Mehbooba with the BJP. "That's perhaps what unfolded on you in New Delhi and you became desperate to bite the bait", he added. "So in days of threatening that you would go alone and never form the government with BJP, you decided to work against the same old salary", Omar added.

Omar made frontal attacks on the PDP leader and Chief Minister claiming that PDP had been reduced to a margin by the Centre and taken for granted.  He desired to know why no representative from the State had been called to two High Level review meetings on J&K by the Centre.

The former Chief Minister alleged that the PDP-led government had denigrated the local Kashmiri students in the recent NIT row when Chief Minister did not make their mention even as she called the non-J&K students as our guests. Even the Police, he claimed, had been denigrated with the replacement by CRPF at the campus.

"Similarly, the SP and the Police were put to shame in Handwara and even the girl had been humiliated with different statements she and her family members made", Omar said. He questioned the way Police had released the girl's video carrying one of her statements. "If the Police are right, why don't you defend them? Who will defend the State Police that lays down lives to protect ours? But, if the Police are wrong, why dont you punish them?" Omar asked.

Omar also claimed that the State government had failed to make its case before the Supreme Court in the recent NEET row even as, unlike other states, in J&K Education and Medical Education were in the State list. He said that the only relief given by the Supreme Court was that NEET had been deferred for one session. According to Omar, Mehbooba government had compromised State's special status and sovereignty by failing to defend J&K's own system of entrance test for admission to the medical colleges.

Omar said that the PDP-led government's policy with regard to establishment of Sainik Colonies, enclaves for migrant Pandits and implementation of the new industrial policy was not clear. "How long will you hide behind your spokesman. After all you will have to clarify. After all prople have not voted for your spokesman. They have given mandate to you", Omar said. He claimed that PDP had shown flip flop in all the major issues. "You announce a policy in the morning and roll back in the evening. What precisely are you up to?", Omar asked Mehbooba.

Omar said that the "battle of ideas" introduced by late Mufti Sayeed had proved to be a fiasco as no talks had been initiated either with Pakistan or with the native separatists. "Just see how many of them you jailed yesterday yo fail their call for shutdown. When I did it, I was labelled a demon and villain", he said. He pointed out PDP-BJP had even closed down his initiative of getting the Kashmiri youths peacefully back to their home from Pakistan.


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