Abdullah Blames Parrikar Remarks For Sopore Violence
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
SRINAGAR : Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Saturday sought to link the violent occurrences that have left five people dead in the restive Sopore town, to the 'policy' of conducting target killings in Jammu and Kashmir 'leaked' by the Union Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar.
“His (Parrikar's) remarks of using terrorists to kill terrorists has shown an ugly face in Sopore where a killing spree has started,” Omar told a large crowd in Srinagar's Lal Chowk where the National Conference, the principal opposition party in J&K of which Omar is the working president, had called for an anti-government march on Saturday.
The Union Defence Minister had made the controversial remarks at a function in New Delhi, sparking anguish among the separatist as well as mainstream parties in a state where the name of Ikhwan, a ruthless, state-sponsored militia that operated at the peak of insurgency during nineties, still sends shivers among the people.
National Conference is the first mainstream political party to see a link between the mysterious events in Sopore and the controversial remarks of Parrikar, who has a knack of leaking information, wittingly or unwittingly, to the media.
In 2011, Parrikar was accused by the Congress of leaking details of a Public Accounts Committee on illegal mining in Goa to media before the report was tabled in the state's assembly.
Earlier, senior PDP leader and the state's Education Minister, Naeem Akhtar, hit out at Parrikar, saying that it was " not possible" to revive the "dark era of Ikhwanis" in the state.
"Such practices are not only illegal and unconstitutional, but unethical as well. Whosoever is dishing out such absurd views, is grossly ignorant about both the ground realities in Kashmir and the law,” Akhtar said.
The Hurriyat camp has also voiced its concern on the issue. Led by Syed Ali Geelani, one of the most venerated separatists of the Valley, almost all the Hurriyat factions have issued anguished statements against Parrikar's announcement.
"The home ministry may have planned a new strategy to deal with the freedom sentiment in Kashmir and Parrikar inadvertently leaked it to the media. The killings in Sopore show that the policy is being implemented on the ground," Ayaz Akbar, the spokesperson of Geelani's Hurriyat, said.
Four people have been killed, including a rukun (member) of Geelani's Hurriyat, over the last few weeks in Sopore town with the J&K Police and security agencies clueless about the whereabouts of the attackers.
The latest killing took place Sunday morning when unidentified gunmen shot dead Mehraj-ud-Din, father of two little girls while he was opening his shop in Badami Bagh area.
Reminiscent of the violence in early nineties, the attacks have been blamed by police on a splinter group of Hizbul Mujahideen called Lashkar-e-Islam.
The Hizb has, however, denied that the group works for them, saying that it is a 'creation of Indian agencies', "The events in Sopore are acts committed by India to defame the freedom struggle of the people of Jammu and Kashmir," a Hizb spokesperson said.
Meanwhile, training guns at the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed at Regal Chowk, Omar said the state was being ruled by RSS, the ideological mentor of the right-wing BJP, which is in a coalition with Mufti's PDP in J&K.
"When I was the chief minister,' Omar said, "the state had two centres - Srinagar and Jammu. But after Mufti Sayeed took over, the state government has only one centre, that is Nagpur."
"Today all the strings are pulled from there," he said at the rally. Although the J&K police had placed barricades along the scheduled route of the march from Srinagar's Municipal Park on Residency Road towards Lal Chowk, senior leaders and workers of the party, led by Omar himself, broke through them and assembled near Hotel Pamposh in Regal Chowk.
The former chief minister also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for denying Rs.44,000 crore flood package sought by his government. “Modi promised help and even offered support to Pakistan occupied (sic) Kashmir. Fortunately they didn't believe you, otherwise they too would have been on roads, demanding relief like us," Abdullah said.