The deaths of two women in Shopian have sparked agitations and turmoil in Jammu & Kashmir, considerably diluting the feel-good factor that had emerged following the successful holding of back-to-back Assembly and Lok Sabha elections in the state.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, however, told Arun Joshi on Monday that his government would answer all the questions that have arisen following the agitation. Excerpts...
How did the killing of two women in Shopian snowball into this big agitation?
Clearly, the unexplained death of the two women made the situation extremely tense.
Unfortunately, people have become very suspicious of all the governments that have ruled Kashmir over the past two decades.
They tend to believe that the government hides things. I believe that this incident could have been better handled in the initial stages, but lessons have been learnt and mistakes committed will not be repeated.
But let me tell you, we will answer all the questions: what happened, how it happened and who did it.
At the same time, there are elements trying to take political advantage of the situation. The main Opposition party (PDP) had called for a “Shopian Chalo” (March to Shopian) just for the sake of a by-election for one Assembly seat (Hazratbal), which, it, in any case, lost.
You were quoted as first saying it was death by drowning. Later, you ordered a judicial inquiry into the incident. Why this flip-flop?
I never said these deaths were caused by drowning. I was asked a question about the preliminary reports, which I said did not suggest murder or rape. I also categorically said: ‘We are not satisfied with the reports’; hence, the judicial inquiry.
Unfortunately, only one sentence was played up by a section of the media. In hindsight, I should have said ‘No comments’. In future, I will be careful about it.
Does the forensic report suggest any foul play?
We will have to wait for the results of the twin investigations, but I can assure people that nothing will be hidden.
Has the Centre sent any emissaries to discuss or monitor the situation?
There is no interference from the Centre whatsoever. The Centre is being kept abreast of the situation by its agencies. I have not spoken to anyone in the Centre.