Seeks Centre’s explanation on why Indian troops vacated the area

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday expressed satisfaction that the Chinese troops withdrew from Daulat Beg Oldi [DBO] in Ladakh but asked why Indian forces had to pull back from an area claimed to be our own territory.

Addressing journalists at the opening ceremony of the Civil Secretariat and other ‘Durbar Move’ offices, which had been functioning in the winter capital of Jammu for six months, Mr. Abdullah said he was happy that diplomacy had worked and the Chinese troops went back after staying on Indian territory for 19 days. However, he said he was surprised over media reports that the Indian soldiers also withdrew.

It was for the Centre to explain this, he said. “The visit of our External Affairs Minister to China, which had come into question, can now go ahead.”

“The only doubt one has is based on the media reports which said it was a withdrawal by both sides. I am wondering where from and where to have the Indian troops withdrawn?”

The Chief Minister parried questions about Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s purported statements during and after the latter’s visit of Doda district over the State government’s “inadequate relief measures” in the areas hit by an earthquake last week.

He said he would not go by media reports. Mr. Azad or his Ministry had not communicated anything adverse to the State government, he claimed.

On the recent attack on a Pakistani prisoner in Kot Bhalwal jail of Jammu and the ‘spurious drugs scam,’ the Chief Minister argued that separate departmental inquiries and criminal investigations were under way in both the cases.

Mr. Abdullah said he would not repeat the mistake of commenting on issues that were under investigation or sub judice after the lessons he learnt from the 2009 Shopian rape-murder.

Shutdown in valley

On a call given by the Doctors Association of Kashmir and supported by different civil society groups as well as the separatist political alliances, Kashmir Valley on Monday observed a shutdown against the ‘spurious drugs scam.’ Transport was off the road and businesses remained shut for the day even as government offices, banks and educational institutions functioned with thin attendance.