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Updated: April 29, 2014 01:33 IST

Omar blames BJP for Pandits’ exodus

Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah adressing a press conference at his residence in Srinagar on Monday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad
The Hindu Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah adressing a press conference at his residence in Srinagar on Monday. Photo: Nissar Ahmad

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday gave a clean chit to his party and Union Minister Farooq Abdullah with the counter-allegation that none other than the BJP was responsible for the mass migration of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley in 1990.

“I am not a believer in the conspiracy theories. But the facts are that when the Pandits’ exodus took place neither the National Conference nor Mr. Farooq Abdullah was  ruling the State. The head of the government was Mr. Jagmohan, who was brought in as Governor by Mufti Mohammad Sayeed as Home Minister of the Cabinet of V.P. Singh, the same V.P. Singh who was installed as Prime Minister with the support of the BJP,” Mr. Omar Abdullah asserted at a press conference at the end of campaigning in the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency.

In a statement issued from the Gujarat Chief Minister’s Office, Narendra Modi had questioned the Union Minister’s secular credentials, blaming him, his dynasty and his party for the minority community’s displacement from the Valley.

Mr. Modi’s statement was a reaction to the NC patriarch’s remarks made at an election rally in Srinagar on Sunday that voters for the BJP prime ministerial candidate should “jump and drown in a sea.”

The no-holds-barred tirade began last week when BJP leader Giriraj Singh said in Jharkhand that those opposing Mr. Modi should quit India and live in Pakistan.

The Chief Minister reminded the BJP leadership that thousands of Kashmiris had been gunned down by militants for their “unflinching faith in secularism and Kashmiriyat” and their political allegiance to the NC.

“It began with the killing of the National Conference activist Mohammad Yousuf Halwai in 1988. It’s continuing,” he said referring to the two blasts at the Union Minister’s rallies at Khanyar and Magam on Sunday.

He said his State was proud of its ethos of pluralism and secularism which had stood the test during the country’s worst communal riots in 1947.

“We don’t need Mr. Modi’s lecture on secularism. While the world knows that secularism is anathema to him, it regards the State, particularly the Valley of Kashmir for its religious tolerance and communal harmony. J&K is not a communal State. It has never been one,” the Chief Minister said in a reference to the post-Partition period when Kashmir alone stood out, upholding its ethos of pluralism and Mahatma Gandhi saw a “ray of light” in the Valley. “We have taught tolerance to the country when the people had forgotten what tolerance was all about…when the Hindus and the Muslims were killing each other,” he said. Mr Abdullah claimed Mr. Modi was “completely ignorant” of Kashmir.

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