J&K needs political solution: Omar
To douse spiraling anger, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made his first visit to violent protest-hit Baramulla district today amid security restrictions and curfew in most parts of Kashmir. He extended sympathy to those who lost lives and reiterated "that a political solution is required to address the Kashmir problem".Updated: Jul 05, 2010 20:42 IST
To douse spiraling anger, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah made his first visit to violent protest-hit Baramulla district on Monday amid security restrictions and curfew in most parts of Kashmir. He extended sympathy to those who lost lives and reiterated "that a political solution is required to address the Kashmir problem".
Addressing senior citizens, civil society and party workers in Baramulla, Abdullah said, "Time has come to go to the root of the problem in Kashmir and address it with all sincerity."
After coming under fire from the media and the Centre for not reaching out to people in violence-affected areas, the chief minister has decided to hold meetings at tehsil-level to listen to affected people.
"The government is for the people and shall fight for their rights and address their issues," said Abdullah, who was cornered after 11 civilians died in the last three weeks in separate violent protests and security forces' action.
Monday's meeting started with special prayers for those who have lost their lives.
The Chief Minister appealed to the Union government that "while a dialogue has started between India and Pakistan at different levels, a political dialogue between the Centre and different shades of opinion within the state must also start in right earnest. "My government is ready to act as a facilitator for such a dialogue," he added.
He said the lines between the two countries (India and Pakistan) cannot be redrawn but they can be made irrelevant.
"During the Manmohan-Musharraf talks we were close to a solution but circumstances derailed the process. We should not lose heart and restart an effort to initiate a meaningful dialogue and strengthen the confidence building measures between the two nations and the people on both sides of Jammu & Kashmir," said Abdullah.
He urged the Centre to open the Uri-Muzafarabad road for all the people of Jammu & Kashmir living across the line of control. "For peace to come to J-K, it's imperative that people to people contact must start. I wish Muzafarabad (in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir) and Srinagar are linked by railway line," said Abdullah.
Abdullah said his government will work with the Union Government to strengthen the cross LoC trade and change it from a barter system to proper trade where the financial transactions actually happen through the banking system.
The chief minister said the democracy gives a right to opinion and expression. "I am not the one to stifle this right to anyone," he added.
Omar said it is unfortunate that disturbances were affecting the education of the children, tourism, trade commerce and developmental activities.
"But we have not lost hope. We will continue in our endeavor to provide good governance and accelerate the developmental process," said the chief minister.
First Published: Jul 05, 2010 20:39 IST