SRINAGAR: Amid speculations of bonhomie between the PDP and the National Conference ahead of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls, NC Vice President and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday indirectly criticized PDP founder Mufti Muhammad Sayeed.

He stated that the late Mufti was India’s Home Minister when the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from Kashmir began. Speaking at the IOI Summit 3.0 in New Delhi, Omar clarified that his father, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, had no role in the exodus of Kashmiri Pandits. He emphasized that by the time they left Kashmir, his father had already left office.

Omar made these statements during an interview with veteran journalist Vir Sangvi, “If you look at the chronology, Kashmiri Pandits started leaving Kashmir after January 1990, by which time my father (Dr. Farooq Abdullah) had already left office. Jagmohan was the governor, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was the Home Minister of India, and VP Singh was the Prime Minister when Kashmiri Pandits started leaving Kashmir. These are inconvenient facts, but they are facts,” Omar asserted.

He further explained that Kashmiri Pandits did not leave Kashmir because of Article 370. “If they had left because of Article 370, then on August 5, 2019, they would have come back. Kashmiri Pandits left because the sense of security was snatched away from them. They won’t come back unless that sense of security is returned to them,” Omar emphasized.

Omar criticized the present dispensation, stating that it has not restored the sense of security to Kashmiri Pandits. He highlighted that more Kashmiri Pandits want to leave Kashmir today than they did five or ten years ago. Additionally, he pointed out that more Kashmiri Pandits were killed under targeted killings under the current government than the previous one.

Regarding the revocation of Article 370, Omar revealed that he had no idea about it until the late night of August 4, 2019. He described the complete communication blackout in the entire valley, with mobile internet, mobile connectivity, and even landline phones being shut down. Omar recounted his interaction with then Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik, who initially denied any move to remove special status. “Now, of course, he claims that he had no idea, but I would take that with as much a pinch of salt as I would have taken his earlier assurances,” Omar said.(KNO)


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