Kashmiris not beggers: Omar Abdullah slams Centre over election delay
National Conference leader and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah on Tuesday said assembly election is the right of Kashmiri people and that they will not beg for it before the Central government. Abdullah also slammed the Centre over the recent terror attacks in the Rajouri district and alleged that the security situation has been deteriorating in the Union Territory (UT).
Why does this story matter?
- Abdullah's statement comes amid an alleged delay in the holding of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).
- The Election Commission of India (ECI) already completed the delimitation process in the UT.
- Notably, J&K had no elected government since June 2018. Per officials, nearly 25 lakh new voters are being added in the latest electoral roll updation process following the delimitation and new rules.
Former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's dig at Centre
"If elections are not held this year, so be it! I have said it repeatedly, Kashmiris are not beggars," Abdullah told the media in Anantnag district, per ANI. "Election is our right but we will not beg before them (Centre) for this. They want to restore the elections to us, good. But if they don't want to do it, so be it," he added.
Centre wants to harass people of J&K: Abdullah
Abdullah said that the eviction of people from state land in J&K was also a reason for not holding elections in the UT. He claimed that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led central government was aware that an elected government would benefit the people, not the party by healing the wounds. "They want to 'harass' people and are penchant to aggravate the hurt," he said .
Abdullah blamed BJP for 'rise in terror attacks'
Abdullah alleged that Rajouri-like terrorist attacks are the failure of the BJP-led administration in J&K. "Now due to the mishandling of the situation we are witnessing the revival of Village Defence Committees (VDCs) and additional deployment of here," he claimed. He also blamed BJP for the rise in terrorist activities despite tall claims following the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.
Revival of Village Defence Committees in Jammu
Following the Dhangri incident in the Rajouri district, in which seven persons were killed, the J&K administration recently began reissuing guns to village defense guards, formerly known as VDCs in Jammu. According to authorities, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has been charged with teaching VDCs the use of weaponry so that they will be better prepared to fend off a terrorist assault.
J&K without an elected government since 2018
The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly was disbanded in 2018 after the BJP withdrew support from the People's Democratic Party (PDP). The UT might see its first Assembly elections—since it was declared a UT in 2019—in April or September-October this year, per reports. The Centre is reportedly taking feedback from the UT administration and local leaders to ensure the polls are conducted smoothly.