Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday said people from villages close to the borders in Jammu region have been abandoning homes following shelling by Pakistan troops.
Addressing the police commemoration day function inside the heavily guarded headquarters of Jammu and Kashmir police, Omar said, “Villagers in Samba, Akhnoor and RS Pura areas are running away from their homes, abandoning fields and the schools are closed there.
“A team of ministers is visiting these displaced families today. We will ensure to bring in some relief in their daily lives till they are able to return back to their homes”.
The chief minister said India is capable of responding to Pakistan ceasefire violations with force.
“We cannot just respond to the violations by mere talking. We are capable of responding more effectively. We appeal the Centre to take steps to ensure that Pakistan respects the bilateral ceasefire signed by the two countries”, he said.
The chief minister said he was not sure whether Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had approved the ceasefire violations.
“I am not sure whether Pakistan Prime Minister has a hand in it or is it that he is not in control of the situation there”, Omar said.
Replying a question about the recent statement by Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif asking for US mediation on Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said, “I think in this instance Pakistan prime minister is playing to his home audience”.
“India will not accept any foreign interference in Jammu and Kashmir and Islamabad knows it. Decades back when the Shimla agreement was signed, the two countries agreed there would be no third party interference”.
"Please remember one of the major aspects of Tashkent agreement decades ago was exactly this: for the return of territories that India had won in that war, Pakistan will give up its claim for any third party mediation on the issue of Kashmir. For some reason, Pakistan wants to forget those aspects of these agreements that do not suit it," he said.
The chief minister said militancy in the state was still not over. “If militancy had been over, things would have been different here”, he asserted.
Omar assured the people living in border areas that his government will take all necessary steps to make their day-to-day lives easier till they are able to return to their homes.
"I want to assure the people living in areas affected by cross-LoC shelling that the state government will take all measures needed for making their day-to-day lives easier. A team of ministers is visiting the affected areas to talk to people so that whatever steps are needed will be taken for their welfare till they return to their homes," he said.
Image: Omar Abdullah salutes during the Police Commemoration Day in Srinagar
Photograph: Umar Ganie
With inputs from PTI