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I know my limitations, but don't exploit situation: Omar

Last updated on: August 12, 2013 21:44 IST

I know my limitations, but don't exploit situation: Omar

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Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah in an exclusive interview to CNN-IBN, alleges that the Bharatiya Janata Party is trying to capitalise on the Kishtwar violence for electoral gains. He rejects any role of his Home Minister Sajjad Ahmed Kichloo in the Kishtwar violence, who was forced to resign, while coming down heavily on BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Narendra Modi.

On failure to control the situation; is there an admission of guilt?

No, absolutely not. It's an effort to establish facts. There has been a lot of rumour mongering, scare mongering and distortion of facts by people who are supposed to be in responsible positions, whether in Parliament or projecting themselves as potential prime ministers of the country.

I know my limitations. No matter how much I try and state facts before media or otherwise, there will be an element of suspicion that we are trying to cover up. If you remember in the immediate aftermath, we ordered an inquiry by a divisional commissioner.

But later, we realised the report of the divisional commissioner will be taken with some amount of scepticism as he is a serving officer of the state government. We have now ordered an inquiry by a retired judge of the high court.

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Image: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah
Photographs: Fayaz Kabli/Reuters

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On Kichloo's resignation

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There is no admission of guilt; there is nothing to suggest the minister was guilty. The minister himself felt that his continuous presence was a needless distraction. Unfortunately, since the last few days, people are agitating over the continuance of this minister in the government.

There are a lot of irresponsible statements made that were not based on facts. The projected prime minister of the national Democratic Alliance goes on to say in Hyderabad that he did not know how many people had died or how many shops were burnt.

But the facts were well known to be people that three people had died, two Muslims and one Hindu. A lot of people have decided to invent facts to suit their stories. There is no report or I've not been given any information or intelligence that Kichloo was complicit in what happened.

He happened to be in Kishtwar because he was supposed to be at home on the first Eid that followed his uncle’s death. That’s his only crime so far in this entire episode. The judicial inquiry will establish all these facts, let the judiciary inquiry found out what is true.

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Image: Policemen stand guard at a street during a curfew following riots, in Jammu
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters
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On delay in taking action

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The last reported violence of communal clash was the day this incident happened. Within hours of the violence breaking out, we controlled that and it has not reoccurred in Kishtwar.

That’s our success. We did not wait for days; we called out the army at first available instance. You had no incidence of major violence anywhere in Kashmir province after the initial outbreak in Kishtwar.

On anti-India slogans and Pakistani flags

Is this the first of its kind of incident in Jammu? Have not there been processions of this nature in Jammu in the past? There are people in Jammu province who are closer to separatist mindset. In erstwhile Doda district, there are pockets of support where the Hurriyat exerts some influence.

These have been there for the last 25 years. So please don't link these processions to communal violence that flared up. This communal violence unfortunately has been encouraged by some political parties so that they can benefit electorally from it by polarising people.

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Image: An army soldier makes an announcement to the public to stay indoors during a curfew in Jammu
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

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On Jaitley's statement in Parliament

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The only people who can create a communal situation in the state are the BJP. They are the only one who stand to benefit from something like this. I'm not blaming the BJP for the violence.

In my press statement, I have said that I had no basis to find any political party's involvement in the actual violence that started. Having said that there is no doubt that the BJP has resorted to capitalise on it; otherwise why would Jaitley have rushed to Jammu the very next day?

Why does he not go when communal violence breaks out on other parts of the country? I have not seen him to respond with such alacrity when communal violence has taken place in other parts of the country, places much closer to Delhi.

On drawing a parallel with Gujarat 2002

I did not bring Modi in. Modi brought himself in. I did not escalate this. I had not said anything on Kishtwar until Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj tweeted me and dragged me into the conversation. The BJP is the one who brought this onto the front. I was dealing with it politically and administratively very quietly.

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Image: Senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley


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On BSP supermo Mayawati's statement in Parliament

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What does she know about Jammu and Kashmir? When did she visit here last time? I don't want to say anything about these people because their track record is very clear to all of us.

If we were part of the problem, normal calm and order would have not been established in Kishtwar within hours of the violence breaking out. Yes, in immediate aftermath of the violence the police force was outnumbered. That is a fact. Yes, the army had to be called in. We were outnumbered first because we did not anticipate violence of this nature.

On involvement of elements across border

There is nothing at this point to suggest that the infiltration is up. The numbers of ceasefire violations have increased. But there has not been a corresponding increase in infiltration or in militancy. This communal violence is not linked to terrorism or infiltration.

On division along religious lines

There have always been those who sought to divide the state along religious lines. Don't you remember 2008? The same political parties who are capitalising on what has happened in Kishtwar were the same parties that flared up trouble in 2008. This is not a new development. Those who are lecturing us need to look into their own track record.


Image: Policemen stand guard by burning debris after shops were set afire by a mob in Jammu
Photographs: Mukesh Gupta/Reuters

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