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'Difficult to say if Lashkar is behind J&K violence'

July 02, 2010 14:45 IST
People's Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti reacted sharply when asked if there was any truth in the allegation that her party has been providing money to some Kashmiris to stage-manage the ongoing violence in the valley.

In an interview with Rediff.com's Onkar Singh, the leader of Jammu and Kashmir's main Opposition party describe Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's government as a total failure on most fronts.

What do you have to say about the allegation that your party has been investing huge sums of money in engineering violence in the state?

This is downright rubbish and false to the core. Those who have made these allegations should look at their own deeds.

Even if I presume for a moment that what they say is right, then going by the same logic, it should also be said that the central government 'purchased' over 60 per cent votes in the 2008 election.

I am deeply pained at these allegations, because when we were in power, violence in the valley had come down noticeably.

If your party is not behind the violence, then who is engineering it? Is it the Lashkar-e-Tayiba as Union Home Minister P Chidambaram mentioned at his press conference in New Delhi on June 30?

It is difficult to say whether Lashkar is behind these incidents of violence or not. The militancy in the state has almost come to a nil. What you see is spontaneous outpouring of anger of the Kashmiris against the repression unleashed by the central forces, particularly the Central Reserve Police Force.

Eleven innocents have so far lost their lives as per the statement issued by P Chidambaram. But this number could be more. The people of the state are agitating against the gross violation of human rights.

You must also have seen pictures of a Kashmiri youth beating up a policeman.

The trouble is that the media highlights only the picture of the Kashmiri youth hitting a policeman. But the media refuses to take cognizance of the violence unleashed by the security forces.

The pictures of security men beating up innocent boys who were playing cricket have not been highlighted. This is a sad comment on our media.

Are you saying that Omar Abdullah's administration has failed?

Why name just Omar Abdullah? There are others as well who have failed to deliver. The whole administration of the state government and the Union government must take the blame. It is unfortunate that those who should be taking steps for reconciliation are talking about tough measures.

Do you mean to say that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to the valley was of no help?

When Dr Singh came to the valley, there was a near-curfew like situation. Nobody was allowed to come out of their homes. He came and delivered his speech and went back.

We were hoping that he would announce certain measures to pacify the Kashmiris and provide the state with good governance. But nothing of that sort happened.

Would you claim that there was no violence in Jammu and Kashmir when your father Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the chief minister?

It is a matter of record that the incidents of violence had come down drastically when he was the CM. We had worked with a single-minded purpose of giving a healing touch to the people of the state. We dealt with human rights violations sternly, and brought them to almost zero.

Muftisaab proved that he was an able administrator.

Onkar Singh