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Not a live-in relationship, says Omar on differences with Cong
Tilak Mehra
JAMMU, Feb 17: J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah asserted that his party's coalition with the Congress is not a live-in relationship but an "old relation". He was reacting to the opposition criticism that the ruling coalition is outside the "marriage of convenience".

"Our problem is that we have a bad PR. We are clean and clear hearted," Omar Abdullah told Kashmir House of Elders. "We have 30 cabinet meetings a month and never ever have we fought."

Omar said the allegation is untrue. "Ours is not a live-in relationship," Omar said at the end of his 90-minute speech highlighting his government's five years performance. "Ours is a relationship and a very old one."

Omar was reacting to PDP lawmaker Naeem Akhter's observation that coalitions usually are "marriages of convenience" but Omar led alliance does not fall in that category on basis of the performance. "It seems more of a live-in relationship."

Taking a dig at opposition members of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) and others for disturbing Governor NN Vohra’s inaugural address during the Budget Session of Jammu and Kashmir Assembly and staging protest over the creation on New Administration Units in the state, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah while replying to Motion of Thanks on Governor’s Address at Legislative Council today said, “This kind of disruption of Governor’s address and dancing and standing on assembly tables in violation of the norms, rules and decorum is condemnable”.

Expressing concern over their behaviour, Omar said that the Opposition parties are habitual of creating bedlam in the House as they do not tolerate the truth about the peace and development that has rooted fast in the state during the last five years and is amply visible on the ground.”

“NC does politics of love, not hatred," Omar said while accusing PDP and BJP of doing politics of "hatred and untouchability” .

Calling PDP and BJP “propagandist parties,” Omar, without naming them, said both the parties are hobnobbing and hatching conspiracies against democratic forces in the State. Omar also took a dig at PDP for remaining out of the proceedings of the House constantly and said this vindicates their failure and the success of coalition Government.

Referring to Kishtwar riots, Shia-Sunni violence, Ladakh‘s Buddhist-Muslim violence and other related issues, Chief Minister said, “Instead of controlling the situation regarding the above sensitive issues they (PDP and BJP) are fanning the fires on these such sensitive issues to disturb law and order situation to take benefit for the sake of vote bank policy.

Omar said PDP spreads false propaganda to belittle the achievements of the NC-Congress coalition Government and the commitment of people towards peace and development. He added they want to give an impression as if the prisons of the state are full of prisoners and people are afraid and do not want to live normal lives. The CM said that only 2396 prisoners held for different offences are in prisons and added that only 30 persons, mostly timber smugglers and other related crimes, have been apprehended under the stringent PSA.

Appreciating his government’s achievements in the last five years, Omar said, “The Cabinet has taken a historic decision on 73rd amendment. The bill is being prepared and will be before the House shortly while Urban Local Bodies Act was almost at par with 74th amendment of the Constitution of India; the Cabinet has taken historic decision to include all provisions of 73rd amendment, which were beneficial for the State, in State Panchayati Raj Act to strengthen the Panchayats.

Noting that the MLAs wanted to become chairpersons of the Block Development Councils (BDCs), the second tier of Panchayats and the Ministers as nominated chairman of District Development Boards, the Chief Minister said the Cabinet has unanimously decided that chairmen of the DDBs would come through election and there would be no nominations.

Chief Minister said his government performed better despite the fact that there were efforts of triggering communal and sectarian rioting in Ladakh, Kishtwar and parts of Kashmir. He said his government's initiatives like RTI, Public Services Guarantee Act, revival of State Accountability Commission, increase in the number of administrative units and soon-to-be amended Panchayati Raj Act offering adequate representation to weaker and socially backward sections of population are in nature. He offered hard statistics of the state's overall development.

"In the last five years, we witnessed 71 percent fall in the militant violence," Omar said. "Compared to 2012, last year witnessed a fall in violence by 25 percent but the worrying factor is that the mortality of the security forces was up."

Saluting the security grid for managing situation better without collateral damage, Omar said while he has welcomed army's constitution of a Court Martial to look into the Machil fake encounter, the Pathribal episode cannot be pushed under the carpet. "Five civilians were killed and now we have to prove who killed them," Omar said. "If the army has found out that their men did not kill these innocents, it is our responsibility to find out who killed them?" Omar said, maintaining that he has already taken up the issue with the Prime Minister.

Pathribal fake encounter of March 2000 was investigated by the CBI but a Court Martial has absolved the indicted soldiers of all charges.

The Chief Minister said: “five people were killed. There is no doubt of it. All the five were innocents; there is no doubt about it. If five people were killed and they were innocents, therefore somebody was responsible.”

“Bullets were fired by somebody. They have not committed suicide. They have not gone to the graveyard and buried themselves. Somebody may have killed them”, he said.

Omar said: “if I accept even for a minute that those responsible for it, did not found any evidence, then tell us who is responsible. You cannot brush these things under the carpet. You cannot hide. People will not accept it.”

“We recognized the Army for the action they initiated in Machail case. They have proceeded further”, he said.

The Chief Minister appreciated security forces for not losing their calm even under challenging circumstances and not resorting to any retaliatory firing. He referred to an incident on Srinagar bypass where eight army persons were killed in a militancy attack, the incident of Bemina, Samba and Hiranagar in which Army jawans and police personnel were killed but the forces did not retaliate and saved innocent lives.

“I salute the security forces for this kind of restraint; he said and expected similar kind of high quality attitude by them during the times of challenge to save the innocent lives.

Omar said the state of human rights is not grim as is being projected. "We only have 2396 people in jails and these include 35 PSA detainees, timber smugglers, over ground works and foreign militants," Omar said. "Given the population we have in J&K, I think it is not a huge number."

Chief Minister also dispelled the impression that the youth who have returned from across the LoC without guns and a change-of-heart are completely uncomfortable back home. "So far 380 have returned via Nepal because the Pakistan does not permit them to use the routes we have designated," Omar said. "So far, only one has gone back and the rest are staying home, though there are some problems."

The Chief Minister referred to what he called “recent historic decision” of his government regarding the creation of New Administrative Units in the State, the Chief Minister said that this was the cherished desire of the people and the government is receiving appreciation for this decision all across the State. “People from Kashmir, Jammu, Leh and Kargil are equally appreciating the government for this historic decision”, he said and added that besides this achievement the coalition government has in its basket the thousands of other major works it has initiated, implemented and completed during the last five years.

On Power generation, the Chief Minister said that as against the indigenous power projects of the capacity of 750 MWs established in the State since 1947 to 2009, his Government allotted power projects of the capacity of 1500 MWs in just five years. He said another 1000 MW capacity power projects are being allotted by the end of this year.

The Chief Minister said his government tried his best to get back the power projects from NHPC. “We took up this matter with the Prime Minister, Power Minister and other Central Authorities. The Prime Minister also tried to convince the Union Power Ministry in this regard. Rangarajan Committee and Working Groups have also recommended return of power projects by NHPC to the State but NHPC has adopted a ridged approach and is not budging from his position. If it will not return the projects we have decided not to handover any new project to NHPC in future. This is our brave decision and we will stick to it”, he said and added that Dulhasti-II and Uri-II power projects allotted to NHPC earlier have been got back now and declared as joint projects.

News Updated at : Tuesday, February 18, 2014
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