Omar Plans To Cut Off Foreign Funding For Protesters17 July 2010
Times of India
New Delhi: Under fire for his handling of violent protests in the Kashmir valley, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday received the 'unstinted' backing of the Congress leadership even though he was advised to be alert to further trouble. The chief minister met Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and home minister P Chidambaram on a busy day. He is understood to have briefed the leaders of the situation in the state while his meeting with the home minister would have touched on the nitty-gritty of maintaining peace. Ahead of Omar's visit, his father Farooq Abdullah had met senior leaders as well. Abdullah junior's visit to Delhi comes at a time when there have been some factional noises against him in Congress with loyalists of Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad speaking of the need for a 'rotational' chief ministership. But these arguments, said sources, have little purchase at present and are seen more as attempts to grab power. In this context, the absence of deputy CM Tara Chand - an Azad follower - from the all-party meeting convened by Omar was noted and he was summoned to the capital where he was asked to 'mend his ways'. Speaking to the media, Omar said the state government would put in place curbs to check flow of foreign funding to protestors in the Valley and also seek central assistance for more sophisticated equipment for paramilitary forces. Omar said his government was contemplating to put in place a more concrete mechanism to check inflow of foreign funds to protestors in the state. During his meeting with the home minister, he sought more sophisticated equipment for the paramilitary and J&K police to control mobs effectively, ensuring minimum loss of lives during public protests. The Valley has witnessed widespread protests since June 11 when a teenaged boy died allegedly because of teargas shelling by police in downtown Srinagar. Refuting Opposition's allegations that he was losing control over the government, Omar said, 'Had I lost control, the situation would have been worse.' Asked about the deployment of the Army, he said, 'We took the decision to deploy the Army in order to put an end to the largescale protests and cycle of violence.' On the withdrawal of the Army, the CM said, 'As far as I am concerned, a decision has to be taken in the light of the result that it (deployment of Army) delivered.'