Who foments Kashmir unrest?
Omar-Delhi Speak In Different Voices
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Aug 3: There seems to be a major difference of opinion between the Government of India and the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on the elements behind the ongoing unrest in Valley. As New Delhi blames “vested interests” supported by Pakistan for fomenting violence, the CM maintains that protests were leaderless and not being directed by any single individual or a group.
While the separatists and the political observers allege that the difference of opinion has been orchestrated to divert attention from the real issue, the Government maintains that New Delhi and Omar Abdullah share a common view on the unrest in Kashmir.
“I don’t believe that any one particular group or individual is directing what is happening in the valley. While there are a number of elements fishing in the valley, one gets the sense what is happening in Kashmir is largely leaderless,” Omar stated at a press conference in New Delhi on Monday.
Incidentally, the Government of India has been maintaining that “anti-national elements” linked to Lashkare-e-Toiba (LeT) and Pakistan were involved in the trouble in the Valley. Besides some New Delhi based news channels quoting intelligence sources have been stating that militants had penetrated the protesters.
The troopers operating in Kashmir have started to take cue from the New Delhi’s stand on prevailing situation in Kashmir. The paramilitary CRPF on Monday claimed that “taking advantage of huge crowd, some miscreants fired upon the troopers at Bomai Sopur.”
“It may be the strategy of the rioters to instigate the CRPF personnel to open fire resulting into huge casualties. Presence of militants in the crowd also cannot be ruled out and it confirms the tacit relation between the militants and the stone pelters,” the CRPF had claimed in a statement.
However, prominent human rights activist Gautam Navlakha, believes it was a military tactic to quell the protesters in Kashmir. “Everyone including India knows that protests in the Valley are spontaneous. By linking Pakistan and militants with the protests, New Delhi has given a license to its troops to massacre the innocent Kashmiris. It will be an easy pretext for the troopers to say that they fired upon the protesters to retaliate the firing by militants,” he said.
Navlakha said whenever situation deteriorates in the Valley, New Delhi blames Pakistan. “It has become clear now that New Delhi controls Kashmir administratively, militarily and politically. It is just a façade that Omar Abdullah is now saying that the unrest in Kashmir is leaderless and the dispute needs political approach. He (Omar) has done nothing since he assumed power to atleast pave way for resolving the problem.
Prem Shankar Jha, a prominent Kashmir expert, believes there was no difference of opinion between New Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir Government.
“New Delhi and the State Government don’t have the guts to accept the ground realities in Kashmir. If there is difference of opinion, it is within the Congress top brass in New Delhi. The Government of India needs to change its attitude and rigid policies if it wants to prevent more innocent killings in Kashmir,” Jha who is also the former information advisor to the Prime Minister of India.
Chairman of Hurriyat (M) Mirwaiz Umar Farooq said New Delhi and State Government have lost the plot on Kashmir. “This is why they are giving contradictory statements. The difference of opinion has been orchestrated to divert attention from the real issue. The Government of India has always been in denial mode regarding the aspirations of Kashmiris. It is easy for it to sell the theory to its people that Pakistan was fomenting trouble in Kashmir,” Mirwaiz said.
Mirwaiz maintained that the ongoing protests in Kashmir were indigenous and manifestation of the Kashmiri aspirations. “Braving bullets and defying restrictions people of Kashmir are on the streets to demand freedom. It seems India is not ready to accept the bitter truth. New Delhi has exhausted all options including firing on unarmed protesters but can’t control the protests. If the people at the helm of affairs in New Delhi continue to neglect the aspirations of Kashmiris, it will have serious consequences,” he said.
The Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister and senior National Conference leader, Ali Muhammad Sagar defended CM. “Omar Sahib is right in saying that ongoing unrest is leaderless. The youth who are on streets now don’t even listen to UJC chairperson Salahuddin who was instrumental in starting the armed rebellion in Kashmir. His effigies were burnt. They did not even adhere to Syed Ali Shah Geelani’s appeals not to pelt stones. They attack troopers and set government buildings on fire. They are on rampage,” he said.
Sagar however refused to comment on New Delhi’s stand on prevailing situation. “You better ask New Delhi about it,” he said.
Senior Cabinet Minister, Taj Mohi-ud-Din however squarely blamed Pakistan for the ongoing unrest. “There is no doubt that there are internal and external agencies supported by Pakistan which create trouble in the Valley. The Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah and the Central Government share a common view on the prevailing situation in Kashmir,” he said.
Asked about the CM’s statement regarding leaderless agitation, Taj said he had made the assertions in a particular context.
The main opposition party Peoples Democratic Party however preferred to maintain silence over the issue. “Let the State Government and New Delhi resolve the issue about who is responsible for prevailing unrest in the Valley,” PDP’s spokesperson, Naeem Akhtar said.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Aug 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 3 Aug 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 4 Aug 2010 00:00:00 IST
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