Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said that he was in “complete command of the situation” and the criticism against him was because the job of heading his government was the “most analysed” one among all states, mostly in a negative way.
You maintained that trouble was confined to five-six police stations in Srinagar, Sopore and Anantnag. Then why has this not been controlled so far? Why is there curfew from Baramulla (north Kashmir) to Verinag (south of Kashmir, gateway to the valley) - a full distance of 150 km?
It is not a question of controlling the situation. The trouble arose for various reasons, and there are different reasons for different places. The whole of the valley is not under curfew. There are elements who like to fish in troubled waters. We have to be on guard against them.
Do you think that some mistakes were made by you and your government somewhere?
Everything will be looked into as to what happened in the past 10-15 days — whether we went wrong or where we could have acted differently.
In January last year when you took over as chief minister, you were a darling of the nation, a young leader who would redefine governance and politics and become a role model for others
You tell me which chief minister has not had to deal with difficult situations. It is rightly said that Jammu and Kashmir is the most difficult state to govern. The job of the chief minister here is the most analysed one of all chief ministers. Most of the time, it’s negative, because there are experts who even don’t know where Kashmir is on the map.
Politically you are seen as a lame duck chief minister. Are you in command of the situation?
Absolutely. The situation was much worse in 2008. Now there are only few pockets that are trouble spots, the rest of the state is calm and the government is functioning everywhere. But we have not come out of woods yet.
As a leader you were supposed to move to the trouble spots, you didn’t visit any one of them.
The problem gets complicated when the media covers that.
Do you see a pattern in the cycle of violence? In 2008, it was the Amarnath land row, last year two deaths in Shopian caused trouble, and this year Sopore erupted.
I think it’s too early to attribute blame. Various quarters have made various statements. Only when normalcy is restored shall we be looking into the causes and finding out if there was a pattern. The only pattern that has been seen is that all this happens during summer.
When will normalcy return?
Too early to say. Our first priority was to break the cycle of violence. Fortunately, it has been broken; for the past two days we didn’t have any deaths. Today (Friday, day of prayer) was a big challenge. Fortunately that too has passed off without much trouble. From tomorrow, we will be looking at making curfew relaxations and then lifting it gradually and finally, completely.
You said that the CRPF was both a victim and perpetrator. This is a contradiction — how do you reconcile the two opposite perceptions?
I have said this much, I don’t want to add anything more to this.