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Omar questions Jaitley for not visiting Muzaffarnagar

Last Updated: Monday, September 16, 2013 - 22:12

Jammu: Criticising senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley for singling out Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday raised questions on the BJP leader`s not visiting communal riot-hit Muzaffarnagar in Uttar Pradesh.

"Why did Arun Jaitley not go to Muzaffarnagar where there were riots - why has he singled out Jammu and Kashmir - I had no problem in allowing him to go to Kishtwar - but situation did not allow," Omar said at a function of students here.

Replying to a question of a student at Gandhi Nagar Women`s College here on why he did not allow the BJP leader to visit Kishtwar, Omar said "Jaitley had singled out Jammu and Kashmir - he should have equal concern for rest of the country. The visits could have aggravated the situation. I stopped the Deputy Chief Minister from going there - I requested Soz sahib from going there - and also stopped my own party colleagues from travelling there."

Arun Jaitley, who had planned to lead a party team to Kishtwar on August 11, was stopped by authorities at Jammu Airport and was not allow to proceed.

"One needs to rely on one`s own judgement as well as on others - you have to understand situations - during the past four and half years, we have faced extreme difficulties - we have faced agitations in 2008 in Jammu and in Kashmir in 2010 - we know how much politics can be played in this sort of situation," he said.

"The question is not about allowing somebody - we had priorities - first, to restore calm in Kishtwar and second, to make sure trouble did not spread to other parts of Jammu," the Chief Minister said.

In reply to another question, Omar extended gratitude to the people of Jammu for exhibiting maturity and responsibility in denying anti-peace elements to spread hatred after the Kishtwar incident.

When tension of such a nature emerges and people of different sections are emotionally at their peak, only priority before the government is to maintain calm and cool down emotions, he said.

"Allowing any political leader to visit the disturbed area is not the administration`s prime concern at that point in time, but safeguarding people and bringing normalcy is of highest priority," he said.

Replying to another question on opposition to the all-girl rock band in Kashmir, he said "It was my responsibility - but I think ultimately as much as it was the government`s responsibility to care for the girl, it was also the girl`s responsibility."

"If the girls were interested in carrying forward the band, I think I would have done everything possible to ensure that they carried on - ultimately my understanding was, family pressure was such, they gave up," he said.

Controversy over Kashmir`s first all-girl rock band `Pragaash` had brought to fore differences among separatist groups in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Whether you like it or not - we live in a difficult situation - where such things do happen. Let me talk about the Zubin Mehta concert in Srinagar - what is wrong with music - - music is not against individualism - yet there were those who wanted to make the concert into a political issue - they wanted to politicise it," he said.


First Published: Monday, September 16, 2013 - 22:12
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