Kashmir has been seeing a spate of violence ever since the killing of Tufail Ahmad Mattoo on June 11th by getting hit with a tear smoke shell. Omar Abdullah’s National Conference and Congress have a coalition Govt in Jammu and Kashmir, however, the Congress Govt at the center as well as the Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah have done little to normalize the situation. Instead, Omar’s recent speeches can only ignite further debate and violence in the valley.
July 22, 2008, Omar Abdullah gave a fiery speech in the Lok Sabha. Entire India listened and the watched it again and again over youtube. The speech had everything the current generation of Indians wanted to listen. It was passionate, it was sensitive and most of it was correct. It aimed to showcase that Kashmiri Muslims were as much part of India as any other individual in India.
On June 11th, 2010, A Kashmiri teenage student Tufail Ahmad Mattoo was killed after getting hit by a tear smoke shell. Kashmir erupted after that we protests and stone pelting by locals. The entire protest is apparently being supported by elements from outside the country and Kashmir has seen a sort of complete shutdown since then. Schools were closed and curfew imposed. But the stone pelting and violence has continued. Although the schools were re-opened last week, things are still far from getting normal in Kashmir as of now. Naturally, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has been heavily criticized for the way he has handled the entire situation. He has emerged clueless and seemingly incompetent to handle what’s going on.
In the midst of all these, Omar Abdullah decided to follow the old age adage “Offense is the best way to defend”. In the Jammu & Kashmir assembly on Thursday, October 7th, Omar Abdullah said that Kashmir has only acceded as a state to India and not merged with India. In his 90 min speech, he went on to say “It cannot be placed at apr with Hyderabad or Junagarh. The accession has occurred under an agreement. We’ve not broken that agreement, but you (the Center) have gradually demolished it and people are angry because of this.” So much so for Omar Abdullah calling himself a true Indian and an integral part of the country.
Quite naturally, the statement from Omar sparked immediate reactions from the BJP and Panthers Party. BJP called the statement as “shameful, regretful and suspicious” and that the remarks were even worse than separatists. Also quite naturally, Congress has not yet opposed anything said by Omar Abdullah. Shiv Sena has called Omar’s statement anti-national and has asked for sending Omar to a mental asylum.
A general feeling is that Omar spoke these drastic words only to divert attention from his failures in the state. At a time when the need of the hour is to solve the Kashmir issue with proper planning, all that the ruling Congress and National Conference have done is to divert attention from the real problem. And Omar has shown us that our perception of him being different after his great speech in parliament in 2008 was just a hogwash and that he is no different than the ordinary and opportunist politicians that India has seen over the past several decades.