Ready to take on separatists in poll arena: Omar

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said mainstream parties were ready to take on the separatists if they decide to contest the assembly elections in the state.

Last Updated: May 08, 2012, 16:33 PM IST

Budgam: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said mainstream parties were ready to take on the separatists if they decide to contest the assembly elections in the state.

"We are ready to face them (separatists) and then let the people decide who is going to represent them," Omar told reporters here, 14 kms from Srinagar.

He said the National Conference has been ready for the challenge since 1996 as the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on record that the assembly will be dissolved if Hurriyat leaders decide to contest the elections.

"The then Chief Minister said on record in the state assembly that if the Hurriyat leaders were ready to contest the elections, the assembly will be dissolved to facilitate their participation," Omar said.

In response to a question, the Chief Minister said it was not for him to worry about the cracks appearing in the ranks of the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference.

"It is not for me to worry about the internal dynamics of the Hurriyat Conference. It is for Hurriyat to worry about. Division in their ranks is harmful to their own interests," he added.

Asked about his assessment of the situation in the Valley during this summer, Omar said he did not have a "magic wand" that can help him in predicting as to how the next six months will pass.

"I can only assure the people that we will not take any step intentionally or unintentionally that can lead to deterioration in the situation.

"However, it takes two to tango ... I would say the people should be allowed to reap the benefits of peace, as they did last year, and be allowed to earn their livelihood during this (tourist) season," he said.

The Chief Minister earlier inaugurated a power receiving
station in this central Kashmir town, which will improve the electricity supply to Budgam district.

Omar said while development was necessary, it was not a solution to the Kashmir problem, which needs to be addressed through political measures.

"We are not of that grain who would invent slogans and cry hoarse on crucial issues, we believe in working on ground and making the importance of issues felt by all," Omar said adding his mission on this subject is loud and clear.

He said that the gun has never been solution to any problem and will never be so in future.

"It is common public who have to bear the brunt of the gun and suffer on all counts," he said underscoring the significance and need for resolving issues through dialogue process.

He expressed the hope that the talks between India and Pakistan would yield positive results for permanent peace in the sub-continent especially in Jammu and Kashmir.

PTI