Omar slams Modi, Cong for silence over attacks on Kashmiris

SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday criticized Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Congress for their silence over attacks on Kashmiri students in parts of the country.

Addressing the media here, Abdullah said: “Attacks on Kashmiri students will result in further alienation of Kashmiris.

“Kashmiri boys and girls pursuing studies outside the state have nothing to do either with politics or the Kashmir issue. They are simply trying to build their careers.

“These students have somehow managed to contact us saying that they have been harassed and threatened to leave different colleges and universities outside the state,” he said.

Since a suicide bomber killed 40 CRPF troopers in the Kashmir Valley on February 14, many Kashmiri students have been attacked by rightwing groups, particularly in Uttarakhand. A large number of them have left the state.

Abdullah said it appeared that those targeting Kashmiris had the blessings of the establishment, pointing out that one Governor — of Meghalaya — had called for a boycott of the Kashmiri community.

He criticized Modi for his silence over the attacks on Kashmiri students and traders outside the state.

“There was no condemnation from the Prime Minister on Kashmiri students being attacked. If he was busy, the Home Minister could have said something. Even the Congress has not said anything comforting. We need a statesman, not a politician,” he said.

The National Conference leader also expressed concern over the withdrawal of security to mainstream politicians in the state.

“On one hand you are telling us that we have to be prepared for Parliament and Assembly elections, on the other hand, you are telling us that we no longer deserve the protection of the state,” he said.

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“Withdrawal of security to mainstream political workers and office bearers is a retrograde step that will only weaken political activity in the Kashmir Valley,” he said.

“At a time when mainstream political parties should be encouraged to step up their activities and build greater contact with people to counter the forces that have supported radicalisation and violence, this will have the opposite fallout,” he said.

Abdullah asked Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik to reconsider the step. “If it is not revisited, we will approach the courts and ask them to intervene.

“I have no doubt this step was taken without taking into consideration inputs from central and state intelligence agencies which can only means it was been done for political purposes and there is an element of pick and choose at play here,” he added.

The security cover of 18 separatist leaders and 155 politicians in Jammu and Kashmir has been withdrawn.

According to an official order, the list covers leaders from the National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

Others are Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani, Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF) chief Yasin Malik and former IAS officer Shah Faesal.

Over 1,000 personal security guards and 100 vehicles provided to the secured persons are being withdrawn, an official said.