By Dr. Abdul Ruff
The 38-year-old Omar Abdullah will head the next government after National Conference (NC) and Congress struck a power sharing deal in New Delhi, Tuesday. Omar Abdullah met Congress chairperson, Sonia Gandhi at 10-Janpath, New Delhi on Tuesday morning and held consultations with her and other Congress leaders on the formation of the coalition government in the State. Later, talking to media persons, Omar said “It was decided that I will head the coalition government of which Congress will be a part of.” Among others who attended the meeting include former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Union Water Resources minister and J&K Congress Chief Saifuddin Soz, AICC general Secretary in charge Prithviraj Chavan and party General Secretary Rahul Gandhi.. India is keen the Hindu interests dominated the new regime in Srinagar. Soz said it was a great opportunity for Omar to provide good governance to the state. Sources said, that the two sides have decided to sit together and formulate a Common Minimum Program, which will guide the coalition government
Omar, the NC president, who won elections from Ganderbal, said that he would take oath as the new chief minister only after a meeting with Governor N N Vohra. Omar made it clear that Congress will be a part of the government and would not merely give outside support to the coalition. Omar Abdullah will take oath before January 10 while rest of his cabinet would be sworn in after 10th of Muharram.
In the run up to his innings as chief minister, Omar Abdullah, said that he had impressed upon the leaders in New Delhi the urgent need to “reduce the pressure of the gun” on the people in Kashmir. Omar made a strong pitch for peace between India and Pakistan, citing dialogue as the only option, and offered the services of his party to improve relations between the two nuclear-armed neighbors. Omar said India and Pakistan should avoid taking threatening postures as the nature of relations between the two countries had a direct bearing on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. He urged the two countries not to let “bitterness” creep into their ties which directly affect the people of the state.
Since 1947 when the Indian separatists–cum-terrorists managed independence from Britain, many governments both at the centre and in provinces assumed office and no one made any categorical statement about their resolve to take care of Muslims cause and fulfill their genuine interests. Rather they always made appoint only to appease the Hindus and foreign countries in their statements and actions.
Perhaps, none from Abdullah’s family has been killed by Indian terror forces. But now look at what the only Muslim chief minister of India, as claimed by India, at least wound be, Omar Farooq has said in his very first statement after winning the polls words only to appease his masters in Delhi. Omar said that it is his commitment to ensure that some Pundits reach the Upper house. Omar said exactly what he has been asked by Indian Hindu leaders in New Delhi whom he med after the polls. Right at the beginning, Omar has shown his Hindu color he did not utter a word about the plight of Kashmiris nor did he bother about the secret graveyards found in Kashmir. He does not want to remember that it was the same Kashmir people who had come to the streets to protest against Indian Hindu designs in Kashmir. He thanked the Kashmiris as a matter of “last but not the least” style.
Possibly, Omer’s heart bleeds for Hindus while Muslims voted him to power. As a groomed Indian secularist, he now thinks mainly about the Pundits as if he belongs to that community even though he knows they played havoc in the lives of Muslim Kashmir recently. He said that one of the top most priorities would be to ensure return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley but not restoring the human dignity of Kashmiri Muslims. . It would take time. “I would be visiting various Kashmiri Pundits camps talk to them about it,” he said. One cannot expect any thing tangible form this die-hard pro-India who now take every opportunity to use the freedom leaders as bargain chip with India to advance his and his family’ welfare.
Indian secularism is meant only for Muslims who are expected to obey Hindus and take care only abut their concerns. One cannot in fact find fault with him or other “winners”; if Omer thinks he has become the top person in Jammu Kashmir because of India and its strategists and it has got noting to do with Kashmiris. They have been given opportunity to vote with military protection and by rendering other services including unaccounted cash form India.
In his maiden speech after being nominated as Chief Minister of the State, Omar Abdullah on Jan 01 hinted at completing the 6-years-term in office and asked arch rivals India and Pakistan to eschew bitterness for the benefit of peace in the strife-torn Jammu and Kashmir. “The government that will be formed will not be Omar Abdullah’s or his father Farooq Abdullah’s government. It will be peoples’ government,” he said. Stating that the road ahead will be tough, Omar said he will need peoples’ support to face the challenges. “People should guide me in case they find any of my decision not going in right direction,” he said. Only the coming days will show how far he is honest.
The chief minister designate promised that during his six-year’s rule he will provide better road connectivity, clean drinking water and uninterrupted electricity to the people. He also assured that he will provide employment to the unemployed youth.
Earlier, talking to reporters at his Gupkar residence, Omar said the two parties—NC-Congress has yet to discuss the modalities about portfolios. On asked when he would take oath as Chief Minister, he said there are some constitutional bindings but he might assume charge before January 10.
Of course now the main task before the new leadership, then, seems to be making money for depositing in the Swiss and other important global banks because it is only cash and courage , money and muscle that make people vote. It seems he would use BJP and PDP against one another to stay in power comfortably. One ahs see what Omer is going to do in office. Talking about development in Kashmir he said that both Jammu and the Valley claimed that it was the other region that was benefited, so the new government had decided to set up a commission of inquiry under a Supreme Court judge to find out the truth. And he is afraid of saying that Kashmir would be developed as it deserves a lot more.
New Delhi’s strategists as well as JK governor would testify now that the freedom aspirations of Kashmiris have not died down in Kashmir with the polls. Protests erupted in the old city against the air strikes being carried out by the Israeli forces in the Palestinian territory since Saturday. According to reports, dozens of people, mainly youth, took to streets at Rajouri Kadal and Gojwara and staged demonstrations. Chanting pro-Islam, pro-Palestine and anti-Israel slogans the protesters marched through the lanes and by lanes of the old city before assembling at Rajouri Kadal and Gojwara Chowk where they staged protests for more than two hours. The protesters later dispersed peacefully.
When Kashmiris have taken up the Palestine cause, amid their own struggle, how can India think they would forget about their own cause? Pro-India elements have to ponder over this. Freedom leaders have to play much bigger role now.
Kashmiris have lost over a lakh precious lives for regaining sovereignty from India and they have valued the worth of those lives and did not participate in Indian poll. If they had participated they would have made a mockery of freedom struggle itself. Their hearts bled for the Kashmiris: for those who live now and those who died for their homeland.
Freedom leaders have done their best to reach out to people to dissuade them from voting for an Indian government in Sri Nagar. Senior freedom leader Syed Geelani was unwell during the poll season and was hospitalized. Indian government constantly declared curfews and detained the leaders. Only Indians and pro- Indians had free life in Jammu Kashmir and all others, especially the pro-freedom leaders were persecuted , rather terrorized by Indian forces occupying there.
Freedom leaders indeed have done their level best to deliver but India has more resources and power to deicide the activities in Jammu Kashmir by keeping them under check and arrest. India now no more thinks by holding a poll in Jammu Kashmir and “appointing” a government it can put an end to Kashmir problem. They have trued all these tactics for decades and indeed tired of them.
The freedom leaders have done what the genuine people fighting for an honest cause could have done. No, their sacrifice will not go waste. Sacrifice of freedom leaders and supporters and those who laid their lives in fight for Kashmir and for Kashmiriyat.
Syed Geelani and other freedom leaders could have aligned with either PDP or ND and won the seats hands down and formed the ministry. But they stood for certain principles that only the freedom minded people alone can rightly comprehend. Geelani clearly said they don’t want to participate in the Polls conducted by occupying India by keeping its terror forces in Jammu Kashmir. They struck to their guns. Winning elections and enjoying fruits of power sharing is not their motto. Geelani even said after the independence let Kashmiris contest and win. Freedom leaders spun invaders, killers and terrorists form India.
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I am not an ideologue of Kashmir freedom movement, as some Indian agents have perhaps pointed out in a way as to make me get out of the pro-freedom platform of defenseless Kashmiris; I am just a supporter of the freedom movement no matter who leads it and guides the Kashmiris people. I am not even a campaigner for the freedom leaders, because I some times say things they don’t consider correct. But I know they are on the right path. The best path of times.
As an outlooker from across the Kashmir border, I must sincerely complement the efforts of freedom leaders to switch their mode of struggle from armed to peaceful and the results, therefore, would also be positive in the long run and the freedom loving Kashmiris would be the sole beneficiaries of their tireless efforts.
I look forward to Omar’s positive role in carrying forward the freedom torch and obtain sovereignty back from New Delhi. His diplomacy would be greatly tested now on. If he succeeds, Kashmiris would be safe and if fails he would also fail the electorate who stood in long queues to elect him as his leader.
Possibly India has, rather very late, realized its folly in keeping Jammu Kashmir under its prolonged custody. It is better late than never, as a saying goes.
Long live Kashmir freedom movement.