Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday called for a two-way dialogue process to end the political unrest in the State and pointed out bilateral agreements had failed to achieve any solution.
Mr. Abdullah asserted that the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) would go during his term, which ends in 2014.
Replying to a debate over grants for the departments under him, Mr. Abdullah said the dialogue process to end the crisis in the State should be two-way. “Talks should be held with Pakistan to normalise the situation between two countries, which is imperative for peace, and dialogue should be initiated with the State people as well. Bilateral talks on any side in the past have not yielded anything,” he said.
Mr. Abdullah in a subtle way made scathing attacks on the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its president Mehbooba Mufti. The party said during the debate that a sense of insecurity was palpable during this government.
Mr. Omar said that during his eight-month rule, the situation was far better than the period during which Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad ruled the State from 2002-08.
Mr. Abdullah said, “I assure the people of Jammu and Kashmir on the floor of the House that the AFSPA will go during the six year term of my coalition government. I would have applauded the PDP people had they raised this issue in Parliament. I tried to check all records and I found not a single word was spoken about the AFSPA revocation by any of the PDP members.”
“Decline in killings”
He said the PDP was saying a fear psychosis was created by his government. “In the first seven months of our government, only 53 civilian killings had taken place.” Killing of Special Police Officers (SPOs), Village Defence Committee (VDC) members, cross firing, and random firings also had shown a gradual decline.
“There is an 83 per cent decrease in cross firing incidents and 88 per cent decrease in random firing incidents,” he said. Incidents of civilian killings were down by 25 per cent, of paramilitary personnel by 21 per cent, and of police personnel by 33 per cent. “How can you [PDP] say a fear psychosis has been created?”
“People feel free”
“Normality is prevailing in the State. For the first time, people felt free on January 26. There were no restrictions. On August 15, a record number of people flooded the tourist destinations — 2.5 lakh people visited Pahalgam, 1.5 lakh visited Gulmarg, and thousands visited other tourist destinations. Had there been insecurity among the people, they would not have left for these tourist destinations on August 15.”