Personality

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Omar Abdullah

omar-abdullahThe scion of Abdullah family again expressed his “helplessness” over Army’s “misdoings” in the state where he is holding chief ministerial chair besides being the head of Unified Command. His latest ‘vulnerability’ got surfaced when a query by newsmen over the killing of two youngsters in Sonawari made him state: “I think you should pose this question to army.”

Many believed that the statement clearly betrayed the chief minister’s anger, disgust and “helplessness”. Although Omar, 11th and the youngest chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, said investigations were on to find out the truth. “I won’t go into specific details,” he said. “This is the job of the police and other investigating agencies.”

Pertinently, tensions had heightened in summer capital Srinagar after eight army soldiers were killed and 13 injured in a deadly militant ambush on June 24 on heavily guarded Srinagar-Muzaffarabad highway.

The attack shifted focus to renewed militant activities in a city believed officially to be free of militancy, which had been prompting Omar to advocate revocation of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), at least from Srinagar and Jammu cities.

“I won’t talk about the AFSPA right now because two incidents in the recent past have given credence to voices both for and against the revocation,” he said.

Omar, who joined politics in 1998 as a Lok Sabha member, took on the mantle of National Conference from his father, Farooq Abdullah in 2002. Though, he lost his own seat from Ganderbal during the 2002 state assembly elections, so did his party. Four years later, he contested once again from the same seat and won in the 2008 Assembly elections.

“By arrogantly asking the newsmen to inquire from army about the status of investigation into the killing of Sonawari youth, Omar Abdullah has not just conveyed his abdication of responsibility, but has insulted the chair he is occupying,” the PDP spokesman said. “The CM’s position in J&K can easily be declared as vacant till it is held by Omar Abdullah.”

Omar, son of an Englishwoman, Mollie (nurse by profession) and Dr Farooq Abdullah, studied at Burn Hall School, Srinagar and then at Lawrence School, Sonawar. He is an alumnus of Sydenham College, Mumbai (where he did his B.Com.), although he did not complete it.

In 2009, Omar was accused of covering up the rape and murder of two young women in Shopian, which was allegedly committed by the government forces. Many regarded this as Omar’s first failure.

In 2010, when situation was slipping out of his hands due to violent street protests, he said: “My chips are down.” But aren’t they still down, Omar!

Bilal Handoo

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