Omar blasts PDP MP for ‘insulting’ Kashmiris

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday reacted sharply to PDP MP Muzaffar Baig’s alleged remarks at an all-party meeting that young Kashmiris were taking to arms for two sets of a shirt and trouser they get in Islamic seminaries.

Abdullah accused Baig of making “extremely dangerous and perverse” comments about Kashmiris at the meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi had convened on Friday on finding ways to defuse the tension in Kashmir.

“Not a single local young boy who has joined militant ranks in recent months has come out from a madrassa-based educational background,” the National Conference leader said in a statement.

Abdullah said some of the militants in Kashmir have been “toppers in the mainstream educational system while a few were meritorious students in professional college programmes.

“For Muzaffar Baig to suggest that these young boys are becoming militants for ‘two sets of kameez pyjamas’ is an indication of his party’s mindset, of how they look down upon the people of Kashmir,” he said.

Abdullah said violence was “unacceptable” but “we cannot afford to ridicule and insult (Kashmiris) and consequently push them further away from the system.

“Such contemptuous remarks from PDP are augmenting the anger and frustration in the valley and that is a travesty,” he said.

Baig, one of the founding members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), on Friday blamed Muslim seminaries for misinterpreting Islamic teachings and provoking young Kashmiris to resort to violence.

With three MPs in Lok Sabha and two in Rajya Sabha, the PDP was the only regional party from Jammu and Kashmir that attended the all-party meeting in Delhi.

Baig said the trouble in the valley “is a narrative of religious extremism”, inspired by “a revival of khilafat (caliphate) that has taken the form” of the Islamic State terror network.

“I told them that what is taught in madrassa is not real Islam. They teach them politicized Islam. They (the students) get two sets of kameez pyjamas and these vulnerable minds are told that if you die in jehad, you will go to paradise and if you survive you will be a hero,” Baig was quoted as saying by the media.

Abdullah said the PDP should know that the political sentiment in Kashmir was neither about the Islamic State nor a revival of the khilafat.

“The root cause of growing alienation in Kashmir is New Delhi’s continued refusal to acknowledge that Kashmir is a political issue and its consequent refusal to engage with the people of Kashmir for a sustainable solution.”