Omar blames separatists; Mirwaiz says violence unjustified
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Last Updated: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 18:40
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday accused the Chairman of moderate Hurriyat Conference Mirwaiz Umer Farooq of betraying the trust reposed when his close aide asked for permission for march to Lal Chowk and said violent incidents would result in setback for any political initiative in the state.

"Today's protests were uncalled for as people wanted to celebrate Eid after a month long fasting. But violence like today's will result in set back for any initiative that the Government can think for breaking the impasse," he said reacting to protests in the state capital in which two government buildings were set on fire.

Accusing the Mirwaiz and JKLF Chief Yaseen Malik of failing in their duty to maintain peace, Omar said "It was the Mirwaiz's office which approached a senior official in my government and requested for permission to have a march to Lal Chowk.

"They were repeatedly asked that the mob will go out of control but the repeated insistence from the separatist camp for allowing them a political space for peaceful march made me overrule suggestions of my police officials. However, whatever has happened later from Lal chowk can be termed as betrayal of trust," he said.

While the Chief Minister refrained from naming the close aide of the Mirwaiz, but sources said the offer was made by the Hurriyat Chairman through Shahid-ul-Islam, a former chief of terrorist group Hizbullah.

The Chief Minister said the onus for maintaining peace was totally on the two separatists leaders who have been "accusing my government for not providing them space for a peaceful protest."

Asked whether such incidents would cast a shadow on the talks about partial removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), he said "while we want the changes to take place but such incidents would definitely have a bearing on any moves to restore peace."

The Mirwaiz aide reasoned out that the march was a political necessity for them as the space for separatists in the Valley was shrinking fast, the sources said.

However, as the mob in Lal Chowk started turning hostile, the Mirwaiz and his aides quickly disappeared from the scene.

The Chief Minister was at present in Delhi where he would be holding consultations with the Central leaders ahead of a crucial Cabinet Committee on Security on Monday.

Reacting to the Chief Minister, the Mirwaiz said it was people's anger that was playing out on the street though he would not justify the violence.


First Published: Saturday, September 11, 2010, 18:40

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