After months of projecting the image of a politically correct ally, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah blasted the Centre on Wednesday for the way its bureaucrats functioned during the crisis in the Valley.
In reply to a two-day debate in the assembly on the last round of unrest, leading to the death of 110 people since June 11, Abdullah said, "The Union home secretary (GK Pillai) should not have spoken about the lifting of curfew (on July 9)."
Pillai, in an interview to state-run Doordarshan, had announced the lifting of curfew apparently without consulting the state government. Abdullah said, "We are not puppets. We take decisions for our people and for their benefit."
Abdullah covered a wide range of topics – from asking New Delhi to fulfil its promises to reprimanding parties for focussing on regional politics. He, however, criticised his own role during the unrest.
"Long after newspapers and TV channels stop debating about Kashmir, I will still ask myself what more could have been done to stop things from reaching this stage," Abdullah said.
Criticising Delhi’s approach to the Kashmir issue, he said, "Our accession (to the Union of India) was based on the special status given to us, and not merger."
He accused the central government of expecting the Kashmiris to keep their part of the deal while refusing "to do so on its part".
Abdullah also raised the issue of rescinding the Armed Forces Special Powers Act. He made it clear that his government was not anti-army, but it was "against the excesses committed by some people".
Action against cops
The state government has directed the police department to initiate action against the police officers involved in the alleged indiscriminate use of force and killing of three teenagers among the 109 killed across Kashmir since June 11.
Shujat-ul-Islam (17), Ishtiyaq Ahmad Khanday (15) and Imtiyaz Ahmad Ittoo(17) were killed in Anchidoora in Anantnag district of south Kashmir on June 29 after the police fired on a group of youth while being chased during a protest.
Witnesses had said that a police party and a CRPF contingent had barged into houses while chasing the group. They alleged that the youth were dragged out of the houses, made to assemble in the lawn of a residential house and fired on from close range.
Omar Abdullah informed the assembly that an FIR had been lodged against five persons and action would soon be taken.