As he grapples with the difficult situation in Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said the recent developments have “dented” the credibility of his government and his own image but made it clear that he would not run away as he was not a “weak person.”
He said the stone-pelting incidents and strikes in the Valley are “symptoms of a wider problem”, which is that people on both sides of Line of Control have been fed on a “diet” that “there is a problem in Jammu and Kashmir that needs to be resolved.”
Mr. Abdullah disagreed with a suggestion that the situation was out of his control and asserted that he would do his best to “deliver” on what he was supposed to do.
“The credibility of the government and my own image have been dented,” he told The Week magazine while talking about the recent incidents of violence involving stone-pelting and action by security forces.
“When a person is down, it is part of human nature to try and compound the problem,” he said in an apparent indication that things were being complicated by some people whom he did not identify.
“Perhaps some of my so-called friends might have thought that I would run away and leave the field for them to take advantage. But I am not a weak person. I am here to deliver and would do my best,” the Chief Minister asserted.
He said there were “important lessons” to be learnt from “this period of trouble” and that he could do so only from “objective criticism” and “not from the people who don’t like me, my family or the party I belong to.”
When referred to the statement by PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti that the State government has “declared war on the people”, Mr. Abdullah said the opposition party could have acted responsibly and tried to end the violence and bloodshed. “But they chose to make it worse.”
Asked whether he smelt a political conspiracy in Anantnag in South Kashmir which is a PDP stronghold, he said it would not be appropriate to feel so. “I think, it is important that we look at these incidents both collectively and separately,” he added.
Mr. Abdullah disagreed with a suggestion that he was trying to pass the buck by reiterating that the Kashmir issue needs a political solution.
“Anybody would tell you that stone-pelting, strikes and coverage of some aspects of the state in the media are symptoms of a wider problem. The wider problem is that we have fed the people on both sides on a diet — that there is a problem in Jammu and Kashmir that needs to be resolved,” he said.
He noted that this has been officially acknowledged in the 1972 Shimla Agreement.