Asserting that tourism activity and the number of flights to Kashmir cannot be considered signs of normalcy, former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Friday said the security situation was getting worse day by day.
Abdullah, the National Conference vice president, said the state of fear was such that Kashmiri Pandit employees were ready to leave their jobs and run away from Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir have been witnessing protests by Kashmiri Pandits since the killing of community member and government employee Rahul Bhat by terrorists inside his office in Budgam’s Chadoora on May 12.
”Fights and tourism are not (signs of) normalcy. Normalcy is that there should be no fear and terror. Kashmiri Pandits should not run away. They are ready to leave their jobs. Is this normalcy?” he told reporters at his party’s office here.
He said that Kashmiri Pandit employees met leaders of the People’s Alliance for the Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) seeking justice. ”PADG leaders went to Lieutenant Governor to ensure that they don’t leave the valley. It is not normalcy,” he added.
Abdullah, replying to a question on the government’s claim that normalcy has returned to Kashmir as there is a heavy rush of tourists and flights amid a decrease in stone pelting, said that his government had also brought stone-pelting under control several times.
”If an employee becomes a target on his seat in a busy office, or a cop gets killed at home, if this is a new face of normalcy, I cannot say anything,” he added.
”We feel sorry that innocent people are being killed one after another. Minorities are being killed. Police persons are being killed. Civilians are getting killed in cross-firing and targeted killings,” he said.
Taking a dig at the government over its claim that the situation would become normal after Article 370 was scrapped, he said, ”Two-and-half years have passed, where is improvement in the situation? Targeted killings had stopped (in the past). I cannot remember when the circle of targeted killings took place last time. Today, people are not feeling secure in Kashmir.” He said terrorism was returning to the places which had earlier been cleared of terrorists, particularly Srinagar and its adjoining areas and those in north Kashmir.
”There has been a lot of difference between what is said and what is done by the government. The situation is getting worse day in and day out,” he said.
Asked whether the targeted killings started after the release of ‘The Kashmir Files’ movie, he said such incidents took place even before and referred to the killing of chemist Makhan Lal Bindroo and Akash, the son of the owner of the popular food joint Krishna Dhaba in Srinagar, last year.
Abdullah said it is for the people to decide whether the movie has contributed to improving the situation or worsening it.
Replying to another question on the ban on loudspeakers in Jammu, he said the authorities should adopt a middle path so that the sentiments of the community are not hurt.