Omar terms BJP-PDP govt as ‘complete failure’, says it divided people
Former CM says the Centre’s unilateral ceasefire did not succeed in its goals, but admits that the pause in cordon-and-search operations was a welcome development.
Omar Abdullah, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and vice-president of the National Conference, has termed the BJP-PDP government’s three-year term as a complete failure. According to him, the divide between the Jammu and Kashmir regions as well as its resident Hindu and Muslim communities only grew starker during this period.
In an exclusive interview with Hindustan Times, Abdullah said the unlikely political alliance gave rise to the rift between the two regions of the state. “They (PDP and BJP) said that they wanted to bring the two regions together, but the fact is that they have pushed people of Jammu and Kashmir regions further and further apart,” he added.
According to Abdullah, the government’s failures were visible on all fronts. “There was deterioration of the security situation in the state, increased polarisation in J&K, the divisions between Hindus and Muslims, and also the failure of governance,” he said.
The former chief minister said the National Conference is not negotiating with any other party to form a coalition government in the state because “we did not get the mandate in 2014, and we do not have the mandate even today”.
Abdullah, who met the governor after the BJP pulled out of the alliance, said he only wants the situation in the state to improve. “We also requested that governor’s rule not continue for long, and steps be taken to alleviate the situation in Jammu and Kashmir,” he added.
He, however, admitted that he was surprised by the timing of the BJP’s pullout. “I expected the coalition to fall apart a little later in the year,” he said.
The unilateral ceasefire, Abdullah observed, did not succeed in creating a conducive atmosphere for dialogue in the state. “If it was meant to reduce violence levels and militant attacks, then that didn’t happen either. Still, we must acknowledge that no cordon-and-search operations were carried out during this period, and that resulted in fewer public protests. However, that has resumed in the last couple of days,” he said.
The former chief minister had asserted on Monday that the ceasefire’s failure was evident from the fact that it wasn’t renewed. “No preparatory work was done before the announcement of the ceasefire. It was a decision taken in haste, and its revocation was also done on the back of a very troubling 7-10 days,” he said.
Abdullah said that people initially received indications through the media that the ceasefire would be extended. “Suddenly in the run-up to Eid, there were reports that the Centre was having a rethink. After the tragic shooting of Shujaat Bukhari, it became obvious that the government was not going to renew it,” he added.
According to Abdullah, the level of disenchantment among the public has risen because there was no sense of closure to the violence that followed the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani.
“After 2016, nothing was done to address the public sentiment and anger that led to the agitation. Today, it has only become more intense. An entirely new generation of protesters — in the age group of 12, 14 and 16 — are involved in protests. Many youngsters are also picking up guns,” he said.
The National Conference leader squarely blamed the BJP-PDP government for the surge in violence. “After the assembly elections of 2014, the year 2015 was almost ok. The year 2016 was very bad, 2017 was also troubled and 2018 is not a great year,” he said.