A day after chief minister Omar Abdullah publicly snubbed his uncle and ruling National Conference spokesman Mustafa Kamal for embarrassing his government, Kamal on Thursday said the party believes "time has come for the Armed Forces Special Powers Act to go from Kashmir".
“Kashmir’s situation has witnessed a sea change. In this backdrop, it has become necessary to lift AFSPA,” said Kamal at a party convention held in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The statement of Kamal, also brother of NC president and union minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah, came just a day after the chief minister told a New Delh-based news channel that the party spokesman embarrassed him when he alleged the army for resorting to grenade throwing in Kashmir the recent weeks to sabotage lifting of the AFSPA.
“I told my father (Farooq Abdullah) that he (Kamal) keeps shooting into his foot and embarrassing us. I regret what he said…Kamal also happens to be my father’s brother,” said Omar in the interview on Wednesday night.
But it seems the public snub has failed to restrain Kamal. “Mufti Muhammad Sayeed and governor Jagmohan hatched a conspiracy to spill blood of Kashmiris (in early 1990s). It was Mufti’s policy of ‘fire hundred bullets for one’ that led to genocide of Kashmiris,” said Kamal, who in his recent speeches described accession of Kashmir with India temporary.
Mufti was union Home minister in 1990s and senior Congress leader then.
Attacking Peoples Democratic Party patron Mufti, whose party ruled the state from 2002 to 2008, Kamal said, "The only two achievements made by Mufti’s government is the besmirch of sex scandal that had two ministers involved in it. Two, his government relegated Kashmir to second most corrupt state of India."
Kamal said New Delhi should understand that restoration of autonomy is only solution to Kashmir problem. “Autonomy was passed overwhelmingly by the state Assembly (in 1996). The solution to Kashmir lies in its restoration,” said Kamal, who has held senior ministries during the NC rule in the past.
In his speech, Kamal claimed the lasting peace in Asia lies in resolution of Kashmir issue. “Solution to Kashmir lies in the better relation between India and Pakistan and considering the aspirations of people of the state. Kashmir issue is not about money. It should be resolved on priority basis,” he said.
It seems announcement of removal of AFSPA, which Omar now says “was not a decision but his intent”, has divided the party with many leaders within the party putting pressure on the chief minister to push for its withdrawal, including Omar’s uncle Kamal.