Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday met the all-party delegation led by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Srinagar and said such efforts have lost credibility as there has hardly been any follow-up after similar visits in the past.
During his hour-long interaction with the delegation, Omar recalled the previous all-party delegation visits since 1990 to Kashmir and said that “unfortunately when things cool down, there is no progress on the issue”. He said the MPs who have come this time face a mammoth task in their hands to revive faith in this process.
He said the then Prime Minister P V Narasimha Rao had promised “sky is the limit” but failed to do anything.
“There was a time when my father had conveyed to grant internal autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir and had warned New Delhi that if they continue to deny it, time will come when it will also not be acceptable to people of Jammu and Kashmir. I think we are heading for that time only,” Omar said.
He told the delegation that his workers were pressurising him not to attend the meeting “such is the situation”.
Omar also spoke of “continuous failure of the state government and its dilly dallying tactics”.
“Mehbooba Mufti should decide whether she wants to be the chief minister or leader of opposition. In the morning, she says one thing and does a complete about turn by evening. She wants that Hurriyat should be talked to but in the evening she puts them under arrest,” he said.
Omar said such all-party delegations have lost credibility because there was no follow up after their visits in the past .
“What happened to the 2010 all-party delegation. It was never followed up so the parliamentarians who have come have a mammoth task in their hands to revive faith in this process,” he said.
When asked whether he agreed with the chief minister’s perception that only five per cent people were unhappy, Omar said, “I wonder by what stretch of imagination, she has arrived at this figure. I don’t agree at all. The space for mainstream politicians has shrunk courtesy the present ruling alliance.”
He also said that Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should have released the Hurriyat leaders if she was serious about talks but she “was not clear in her own head” about the way forward.
“As CM she arrests them (separatists) and as @jkpdp president she invites them to talk and then we wonder why Kashmir burns!!!!
“When the CM of J-K isn’t clear in her own head about the way forward how do we expect her government to react and act as a cohesive unit?” Omar said in a series of tweets.
Mehbooba, in her capacity as Peoples Democratic Party president, on Saturday, wrote letters to top separatist leaders seeking their cooperation in the peaceful resolution of the issue of Jammu and Kashmir by engaging with the all-party delegation.
However, Omar, the former chief minister, said instead of releasing the letter to the media, Mehbooba should have released the separatists who are under detention.
“Instead of releasing her letter to the press, @MehboobaMufti should have released the detained Hurriyat leaders if she was serious about talks,” the NC working
He said even as some of the separatist leaders were in jail, the chief minister asked them to suggest time and place to meet the delegation.
An all-party delegation comprising 26 MPs arrived in Srinagar on Sunday in an effort to restore peace in the Valley which has been gripped by violence since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.
In the clashes with security forces, 71 people have lost their lives and scores of others have been severely injured.
Cutting across party lines, the leaders said that they were hopeful of finding a solution for restoration of peace in the Valley.
Image: National Conference working president Omar Abdullah addressing a press conference after a meeting with the all-party Parliamentary delegation. Photograph: S Irfan/PTI