As Kashmir reels under a curfew for a straight fifth day on Friday with stray protests on despite security restrictions, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sought a solution to the Kashmir problem.
The beleaguered chief minister on Friday said “the aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir cannot be assuaged only by development, good governance and economic packages but needs a political solution”.
“We must work together to find a solution that can lead to a lasting peace in Jammu & Kashmir as per the aspirations of the people of this great land,” in an appeal circulated through J&K government's information department Abdullah said.
Abdullah said there was a need to work together to find a solution to the Kashmir imbroglio and also to facilitate a dialogue between India and Pakistan as well as a dialogue between the Centre and various shades of opinion in the state.
The Chief Minister said his party National Conference (NC) is for autonomy adding, “But I am not averse to move beyond it, if there is a solution other than autonomy that is acceptable to both India and Pakistan and meets the aspirations of the people of Jammu & Kashmir.”
With no let-up in anger despite a slew of measures, though protests have died by and large, the Chief Minister has now toed a softer line to pacify anger on streets and also address the Centre.
“I have always been an advocate of peace. Death under any circumstances is a sad affair and death of youngsters has saddened me most. My heart goes out to the bereaved families in their hour of grief. I feel their pain more than anyone will know,” said Abdullah.
The chief minister said people of Kashmir were a part of his flesh & blood.
“I appeal to all the people of Jammu & Kashmir to rise above political affiliations and ideologies, come together and work with us to ensure that order and peace are restored in the troubled parts of the valley,” he said.
Without naming anybody, the chief minister said “it’s unfortunate that certain elements are hell bent upon disturbing the peace and quiet and causing discomfort to the people of Jammu & Kashmir.”
But was quick to add: “My government & I will fight these forces politically and administratively and shall not let their nefarious designs succeed.”
He said the government has a vision for the youth.
“My government, together with the Government of India is working to address their issues, particularly that of unemployment and insha-Allah we will address the problems of the youth of Jammu & Kashmir to the best of our collective abilities.”
To the perpetuators, instigators and facilitators of violence and disorder and to those who are indulging in petty political machinations to disturb peace, Abdullah said: “I will not only expose them but also deal with them sternly. We have lost twenty years and a complete generation has grown under the shadow of the gun and we cannot allow it to go on.”