Terming frequent violations of the ceasefire as a “matter of serious concern”, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Sunday expressed hope that the Centre would reconsider its decision of cancelling talks with Pakistan in order to end the border hostilities.
“I hope that there is some rethink on this (calling off of talks with Pakistan),” Omar told reporters after addressing a public meeting in the outskirts of the city.
India had called off Foreign Secretary level talks with Pakistan after Islamabad’s envoy to New Delhi Abdul Basit went ahead with meetings with separatist leaders from Kashmir even after he was asked by the Centre to desist from it.
Omar said the ceasefire violations along the Line of Control (LoC) and the international border were a “matter of very serious concern”.
“The ceasefire violations are increasing in intensity. They are no longer confined only to BSF posts. By design now, civilian areas are being targeted, civilians are being killed and injured. People are being forced to migrate from border areas,” he added.
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Omar said as the communication between India and Pakistan has broken down, he does not know how the Centre will resolve the issue of ceasefire violations and its effects on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Given the breakdown in communication between India and Pakistan, I don’t know how the Narendra Modi government plansto resolve this issue but they have an obligation to resolve it because they promised the people of this country ‘acche din’ (good days),” he said.
The people living along the border are people of this country. They have as much of right to ‘acche din’ as anybody else but they are yet to see those ‘acche din’, he said. “If anything, they have seen their days go from bad to worse. Therefore, I think it is time for Prime MinisterNarendra Modi and his government to fulfil their commitment of ‘acche din’ and restore peace and normalcy along the border,”the Chief Minister said.
Responding to a question, Omar said the cancellation of the talks was not the result of ceasefire violations.
“The cancellation of talks was result of ‘cup of tea’ that has continued every year since 1994. It is part of Pakistan’s, what they call, moral support.
“To expect that Pakistan would stop this before an overall settlement of the Kashmir issue, is I think to expect too much of Pakistan,” he said.
Omar did not foresee resumption of talks with Pakistan soon as the Centre has said talks with Islamabad will not resume as long meeting with separatists continue.
“Given that that the bar has been set that till these tea sessions continue, the talks will not resume, I don’t know how we can expect the resumption of talks,” he added.
On BJP president Amit Shah setting his eyes on the election-bound Jammu and Kashmir, Omar said he was not worried about it as his National Conference was the only party which can stop the national ruling party.
“As far as I know, the only party that can do this (stop BJP) is the National Conference. We will do everything possible to ensure that ‘ab ki baari BJP ki baari nahi hogi’ (this time it will not be BJP’s turn),” he said.