We are not puppets of the Centre: Omar

Omar also made known his disapproval of GK Pillai announcing lifting of curfew in the Valley.

Srinagar: Rejecting Opposition charges, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said neither he nor his council of ministers were acting as "puppets" of the Centre.

Omar also made known his disapproval of Union Home Secretary GK Pillai announcing lifting of curfew in the Valley, a move which he felt undermined the institutions of the state.

"We are not puppets. There is no remote control. We take decisions for our people and for their benefit," Omar said winding up the debate in the state Assembly on the prevailing law and order situation in Kashmir.

The Chief Minister was reacting to the charge levelled by opposition members including PDP President Mehbooba Mufti who said the Centre was running the affairs of the state.

"I have a grievance. There have been some instances where people have talked more than needed. The Union Home Secretary (G K Pillai) should not have spoken about curfew (on July 9)," he said.

Pillai in an interview to State-run Doordarshan on the eve of `Shab-e-Mehraj` had announced lifting of curfew.

Omar said by making such statements, they were undermining the institutions of the state and it would be better if they do not do so through media.

On the Centre`s eight-point initiative for Kashmir, he said it had not consulted the State on the issue of re-opening of schools. The state was consulted on the other issues.

"It is wrong to say that the schools were closed for three months and opened only after the package was announced. The schools were functioning in rural areas and closed only in urban areas and we had decided to open these schools even before the announcement of the package from the Centre," he said.

Omar said he has received full support from the Centre over the past four months and hoped that it will continue in future also.

Referring to the Kashmir imbroglio, he said the issue required a political solution. A dialogue process to address the external and internal dimensions of the issue needs to be started to resolve it.

"It (Kashmir) is an outstanding issue which needs to be resolved. It is a political issue and cannot be addressed through development, employment or good governance only," he said.

Maintaining that separatists alone did not hold key to the resolution of the issue, he, however, said talks have to be initiated with them also.

"It is an issue between India and Pakistan in which Jammu and Kashmir is getting smashed in between. An external dialogue process has also to be started," he said.

The Chief Minister said nobody has been claiming that the talks should be focused on Kashmir only. "People from Jammu, Ladakh and Kargil, besides the Valley have to be involved in the settlement process and a solution acceptable to them and our neighbours (Pakistan) has to be found."


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