Srinagar 31 August: Hardening his stand, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah warned Centre of resentment against “communal imbalance in the administration”.
“Please look at the make-up of our administration today. Your LG is non-Muslim; chief secretary non-Muslim; DGP non-Muslim; both your divisional commissioners are non-Muslims; both your IGs of police non-Muslims; the chief justice of Jammu and Kashmir high court is non-Muslim; the rest of the high court bench, barring two judges, are all non-Muslims. How many of your deputy commissioners and SPs posted in Kashmir today are Kashmiri-speaking? It may appear minor, but please understand these are the issues that resonate with people. We are not fundamentalist people. We don’t play the religious card, but when there is such a severe communal imbalance, there will be resentment,” Omar told The Hindustan Times in an interview.
National Conference vice president said design or not, it affects the public perception. “You (Centre) are trying to change the script in which Kashmiri is written. These are changes you are forcing on us and then saying ‘you are integrated’. Integration doesn’t come from a piece of paper. It comes from emotions. I have to feel integrated. If you change the script in which I am writing, you change the language in which an officer on the ground is addressing me, and then you turn around and tell me: ‘I am integrated.’ I am not. I dare you to do this in Tamil Nadu. I dare you to change their script and see what happens. There will be hell to pay there. Why do all experiments have to happen here?” he said.
Omar said the domicile law of Jammu and Kashmir is weaker than even Himachal Pradesh. “Take the domicile certificates that have been issued thus far and see what is the religious break-up? I don’t have actual numbers, but I can guarantee you that more than 90% of the new domicile certificates that have been issued will be non-Muslims. Not that the demographic change will take place overnight; it will be a creeping effect. But if this domicile law is not overturned, eventually that is where we will be. That’s why it’s important J&K is given back its statehood so that we can legislate our own domicile law. Today, the domicile law you have given us is weaker than even Himachal Pradesh’s,” he said.
Sticking to his guns, former chief minister noted that they are not appealing to Prime Minister Modi to reverse what he has done. “When (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee sahib said that the matter of Kashmir will be decided within the umbrella of ‘Jamooriyat, insaniyat, Kashmiriyat’, that opened the door for us. Today, no such door is open. Our fight revolves around the Supreme Court. Tomorrow, if a government is formed in Delhi that is open to dialogue, then we will see. We are not asking anything beyond the Constitution, so why should we surrender,” he said.
Omar’s father and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah was candid enough to say that the ordinary person on the streets is not Indian anymore. “If you want to know the honest truth, they are not part of India. This is God’s truth. You ask an ordinary person, he does not want to be Pakistani. Let’s be frank about it. He is not a Pakistani, but he is not an Indian today after what they (the Centre) did,” he said.
Farooq said he felt betrayed because he was the man who stood for the nation. “Friends on the other side (Pakistan) hated us. For them, we were slaves or mouthpieces of India. The only thing that mattered to them is the Hurriyat. If anything gave me strength, it was the Quran. I will fight till my last breath,” he said.