Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has said “everyone is feeling unsafe”, and asked the administration to give the people a sense of security cutting across religions. He was reacting over the recent killing of civilians
Pointing out that terror attacks in the Union Territory this year had claimed the lives of 28 civilians cutting across religious lines, Abdullah, who is the vice-president of the National Conference, at the same time hoped there will not be a fresh exodus of Kashmiri Pandits and Sikhs, both of whom had been targeted in the recent days.
“All of us should try our level best to ensure that we do not see a fresh exodus of minorities from Kashmir”, he said, adding that no one community feels safer than the other.
“Whatever can be done to stem this and to restore the sense of security to these communities must be done. Obviously, the lion’s share of this work has to be done by the administration but as the majority community, we also carry some of that responsibility. We must fulfil that responsibility”, he told PTI in an interview here.
Castigating the administration for trying to “score propaganda and public relations victories rather than focus on the ground realities”, Abdullah asked the authorities to “take a long hard look at why we have reached where we have”.
Abdullah, however, refrained from terming the recent attacks as an intelligence failure, saying: “… I think it’s the failure to act on intelligence. That is a failure you cannot just blame the police for because the counter-militancy operations are conducted by police, paramilitary and military. It is the collective failure of our counter-insurgency grid.”
He reasoned that for the last few months there has been chatter about targeted attacks against minorities, particularly against Kashmiri Pandits.
“So obviously, if somebody like me who has no association or anything like that with the government and is not privy to any intelligence reports, if I could hear this, then I am sure the intelligence agencies also picked it up and if they have picked it up, they would have passed it on to the people who matter,” he said.
Expressing concern about locals joining various terror groups, he said this is an issue that the government and political parties should be concerned about.
I am not privy to statistics, I don’t know the numbers but from my own colleagues, I do understand that this trend continues and it is not a trend limited to a particular area, we hear these reports from south, central and north Kashmir, he said.
“It is something that should concern us and again it is for the government to create the necessary conditions that these youngsters do not get attracted to the idea of picking up a gun,” he added.