SRINAGAR: Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said election is the right of Kashmiri people but they will not beg for it before the Centre.

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“If elections are not held this year, so be it! We are not beggars. I have said it time and again, Kashmiris are not beggars. Election is our right but we will not beg before them for this right. They want to restore the elections to us, good. But if they don’t want to do it, so be it,” Omar told reporters in Anantnag district, as quoted by ANI.

On the question of eviction of people from properties and state lands, the former chief minister said it was one the reasons for elections not being held in the Union Territory. He said the BJP-led central government knows that an elected government will try to heal the wounds of the people while they only rub salt in them.

“That’s why they are not holding elections. They want to ‘harass’ the people. Instead of applying balm to the wounds of people, they seem to have a penchant to aggravate the hurt,” he said.

The National Conference leader also claimed that the government’s decision to arm the village defence guards in the wake of recent attacks is an admission of failure. He said the BJP’s claim at the time of revocation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir that “gun culture will start to subside” has fallet flat.

“On 5 August 2019, the nation was told that the gun in Kashmir is because of Article 370 and with repealing of Article 370, the gun culture will start to subside. However, as is clear, that is not the case on ground. The kind of attack we saw in Rajouri and the situation in Kashmir, the numbers of security forces personnel are being increased … all this points to the fact that the situation is not under control. The government is now compelled to take these steps,” he added.

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has recently started reissuing weapons to village defence guards (VDGs), earlier known as village defence committees (VDCs), following the Dhangri incident in Rajouri district in which seven people were killed. The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) will provide weapons training to VDCs so that they are able to counter attack in a better way, officials said on Monday.


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