Omar Abdullah

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Omar-Abdullah-during-press-Conference-after-losing-all-Lok-Sabha-seats-in-KashmirSome call it “Gunnysacking” on part of Omar Abdullah when he lashed out at Hurriyat leadership on Kousar Nag yatra issue. The state executive chose India’s 68 Independence Day for venting out his feelings on the controversial issue. For 44-year-old chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, separatists “rake up” issues with emotional value and “convert” them into “political slogans”. Later in the day, the senior Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani slammed Omar’s remark by saying: the yatra could trigger the ecological disaster (if allowed) and opposition of the same is not ‘Ram-Rahim’ fight.

A United Kingdom born executive of Himalayan state defended the yatra by blaming the locals for “doing more harm” to the ecology of the region. Omar who is J&K’s youngest chief minister believes: Kashmiris create far more damage to the environment than 150 persons visiting a lake.

Omar launched his tirade on the issue which lately witnessed fury of reactions pouring from state as well as non-state actors. Citing the example of Dal Lake, a March (1970) born scion of Abdullah family struck what many call a “weird comparison” between the lake pilgrimage   and “the mess” in Dal Lake to sum up his feeling on the issue.

Making formal debut (in politics) in 1998, Omar lashed out at locals for creating “mess” at Gulmarg, Pahalgam or Sonmarg. But apart from locals and separatists, Omar who took on the mantle of National Conference from his father in 2002, also criticised the local administration over the handling of the Kousar Nag Yatra issue.

In 1999, Omar was elected to 13th Lok Sabha and on July 22 (2001), he became the youngest union minister, when he was made union minister of State for External affairs. He resigned from the post on December 23 (2002) to concentrate on party work.

He became the President of the National Conference party in 2002. In the same year, he was declared loser of Ganderbal assembly seat. But six years after (in 2008), he contested from the same seat and won.

When he was sworn in as the 11th chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir on January 5 (2009) at the General Zoravar Singh Auditorium in the University of Jammu, he raised hope among the youth of Kashmir. Now as he is nearing his term completion, scores of young assert: their hope was rendered hopeless.

Now when the issue of Kousar Nag Yatra has gripped the state, Omar said: there is nothing to be feared from this issue. But the issue which lately feared to snowball into a major crisis has set off supposition: Omar’s remark is nothing but a tongue in cheek comment!

– Bilal Handoo

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