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Jammu KashmirFurore after Omar describes Rashid’s Lok Sabha poll victory as ‘win of...

Furore after Omar describes Rashid’s Lok Sabha poll victory as ‘win of separatism’


Srinagar: Former Chief Minister and Conference vice-president today kicked off a political storm when he quoted a news report that described his rival Engineer Rashid's victory from the Baramulla constituency as a win that “will empower secessionists” and give 's “defeated Islamist movement a renewed sense of hope”.

PDP leader Waheed ur Rehman Parra was the first politician to criticise Omar's interpretation. Parra said he was “extremely disappointed with Omar Abdullah's regressive stance, echoing the divisive of 1987, and dubbing a democratic expression as an Islamist wave”.

Acknowledge the mandate

A more prudent approach, akin to Mehbooba Mufti's plea for Engineer Rashid's release, would have been an acknowledgment of the mandate. —Waheed Parra, PDP leader

“Omar's family's history with the Muslim Conference clashes with the calls for exclusion of the PDP, Er Rashid, and JEI, and will put Kashmir into a perpetual conflict with the state. A more prudent approach, akin to Mehbooba Mufti's plea for Er Rashid's release, would have been acknowledgment of mandate,” the PDP leader — who was also the party's Srinagar candidate and lost to NC — said.

Responding to Parra's remarks, Omar said: “I spent my entire campaign talking about Rashid's release and unlike his campaign, I talked about the release of the 1000s detained since 2019.”

Omar said the articles he had shared on X were not his views but they were a point of view. “I may agree with parts, disagree with parts but they are an opinion. As for Rashid's release, it's a matter for the courts to decide. I didn't agree with Rashid's detention in the first place and I don't agree with it now but that's neither here nor there because it shouldn't be just about one man but about the 1000s in jail, including the anonymous ones outside J&K,” Omar added.

Rejecting Omar's assertion, Parra said while the PDP endorsed his plea for the release of all political prisoners, “we must at least find consensus on the return of one such prisoner, Er Rashid, who was also your Assembly colleague”.

The PDP leader added that if a mandate was misconstrued as militancy, it would inevitably sow confusion and backlash against the mainstream political forces in J&K.

Later, other NC leaders also joined the debate, asking Para: “If the state allowed you to walk out on bail on the exact same charges, it should also allow Abdul Rashid Sheikh to come out who faces the same charges.”

NC's spokesperson Ifra Jan said: “Your cook continues to be in jail but finds no mention in your speeches.” Apni Party leader Hassan Mir said: “The NC has survived always because of its stance against Delhi, which it always played as a buffer. Engineer Rashid won because of sympathy as a victim. There is no separatism element in his win. The people are the masters.”

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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