People of J&K treated differently: Omar Abdullah after Kishtwar riots

Upset over way communal violence in Kishtwar was portrayed, Omar Abdullah on Thursday said people of his state are being treated in a "different" way.

Last Updated: Aug 15, 2013, 22:14 PM IST

Srinagar: Upset over the way communal violence in Kishtwar was portrayed, an anguished Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Thursday said people of his state are being treated in a "different" way forcing them to feel "separate".
"I am often asked why do people of Jammu and Kashmir feel different from the people of the rest of the country...We do not feel separate but are made to do so by the different attitude towards us. Today I will explain it," Omar said in his Independence Day speech at Bakshi stadium here.

He said whenever he pondered over the question, he was not able to reach a conclusion, but the way Kishtwar communal clashes were presented before the rest of the country provided the answer.

The violence which claimed three lives also led to an attack on his government by the oppoistion and the resignation of the Minister of State for Home Sajjad Kitchloo.

Omar quoted figures from the Union Home Ministry on the deaths in communal riots that took place last year and up to March this year which included 34 deaths in Uttar Pradesh and 13 deaths in Maharashtra during 2012.

"Were these incidents discussed in Parliament? Forget about leaders visiting these places, did they mention it on Twitter," he said in an apparent reference to BJP leaders Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj.

"What happened in Kishtwar was condemnable. More so because it happened during my tenure as Chief Minister. We have announced a judicial commission and its findings will be made public," he said.

Apparently referring to BJP and like-minded parties, the National Conference leader questioned the hue and cry over the Kishtwar riots last week.

"Is it for the first time it has happened in the country? Is Kishtwar the only place where this has happened?"

He said he will not compare the riots in Kishtwar with other similar incidents and justify it by pointing out mistakes in other states.

In an oblique criticism of the media, Omar asked why the communal riots in other places of the country did not make it to news channel programmes and newspapers.

"How many TV programmes were dedicated to these incidents and how many columns were written?" he asked.

PTI