Omar calls for political solution to Kashmir problem

Omar calls for political solution to Kashmir problem

1 February 2012
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today called for a political solution to Kashmir problem as advocated by majority of youth of the State in a survey conducted by a national agency recently and said he would stick to his stand on partial revocation of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) from the State. Speaking to media on the sidelines of State level teachers’ conference at Zorawar Singh Auditorium in Jammu University, he said though the survey has pointed out the issues like good governance, it has also highlighted that majority of the youth wanted political settlement to Kashmir problem. 'We are also working in that direction (the political solution to Kashmir problem), which was a good idea’’, Omar said. Noting that the youth have asserted that they were strongly in favour of a political solution to Kashmir problem, he said the State Government was already in favour of the idea and had taken it up at various levels. 'We are working in that direction and would continue to do so’’, the Chief Minister said describing political solution to Kashmir problem as a 'healthy option’’. Referring to the survey of Delhi-based Institute for Research on India and International Studies, he said it was good that majority of youth have rejected the gun culture. 'This is true (that Kashmir youths have rejected gun culture, merger with Pakistan and Azadi and favoured good governance and corruption-free State). As per the report youths (in Kashmir) did not support the gun,' Omar said. The study showed that a vast majority of Kashmiri youths were disillusioned with mainstream democratic politics in the State with 50 per cent of them having never voted and only 5 per cent of them joining political parties. 'The youths want that there should be a political solution to the problem of Jammu and Kashmir - we are also working in this direction,' he said. Replying to a question on the charges that Education Minister Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed had used his influence on Board of School Education (BOSE) authorities to get his son clear Secondary class examination, the Chief Minister, who was flanked by Mr Sayeed, who also attended the teachers’ convention, said he has referred the entire file pertaining to the charges to the Crime Branch and asked the investigating agency to submit findings within seven days after going through the entire record. 'The Government would take next step after receiving report of the Crime Branch’’, he said, adding the Government had reacted promptly after getting reports from the media. It may be mentioned that a newspaper had published two facsimile copies of answer sheets written by Peerzada’s son in Secondary class examination. One of the answer sheets was reported to have been written by a Board official. On his return from New Delhi, the Chief Minister had asked the Crime Branch to hold an inquiry into the media reports and submit a report to him within seven days. In response to another question on United Jehad Council chief and Hizb-ul-Mujahideen supremo Syed Sallahudin’s call to boycott Municipal polls in the State, the Chief Minister said 'it is not a new thing. We will hold elections ... Those who want to take part in it can take part.' To another question that the amendments proposed by the Union Government in AFSPA and a reply by the Ministry of Home Affairs in response to a RTI query, Omar said he was yet to go through either the RTI query or the reply given to it However, he added, he would stick to his stand on partial withdrawal of AFSPA from the State. 'We stick to our stand for partial withdrawal of AFSPA from peaceful districts of the State. We would continue to pursue our case with the Union Government as our demand was based on logic’’, Omar said. Addressing the State level teachers’ convention, the Chief Minister called for making the Department free from political and other influences, an indirect reference to political pressure for transfers. He supported a set pattern and norms for transfers, creation and upgradation of new schools and implementation of flagship programmes. He pointed out that he has already put in place a transfer policy in Power and R&B Departments, which were held by him. Asserting that the transfer policy is being followed strictly in these two Departments, he said he would like Education and other Departments to follow similar policies. Omar said it was his cherished desire to restore the unique dignity and honour the teachers enjoyed in the past. Addressing a State-level teachers' convention at the Zorawar Singh Auditorium here, he said teachers played a key role in moulding students as responsible and qualified citizens. 'Your service delivery in making educational institutions as seats of academic excellence and moral teaching is imperative in this direction,' he said. Omar said the role of a teacher is pivotal in bringing about social changes and creating disciplined, honest, dedicated, qualified and responsible citizens. Chairman Employees Joint Action Committee, J&K Teachers Coordination Committee and President Forum, Abdul Qayoom in his speech expressed gratitude to the Chief Minister for granting one time exception in the regularization of 10+2 lecturers and headmasters. 'We thank you for fulfilling your promise and resolving the most complex issue', he said pinpointing various other demands of the teachers fraternity asking for the Chief Minister's similar support and attention towards them. The President Lecturers' Forum, S D Qureshi also conveyed gratitude and thanks to the Chief Minister on behalf of lecturers' fraternity for the historic gesture towards the teaching community. Director School Education, Jammu, Gulzar Qureshi in his speech highlighted the achievements registered in the education sector in Jammu division during last three years. Director School Education, Kashmir, Shugufta Parveen and other officers of the Education Department were present on the occasion. Addressing another function organized by the Institute of Public Opinion, Omar regretted that the industry didn’t give jobs to 90 per cent local youths despite availing subsidies. 'Only ' 1000 crore worth investments were made by the industry here during last three years. They took subsidies but didn’t give employment to 90 per cent local youth as per the arrangements’’, he said. The Chief Minister called for reforms in various sectors but noted that even his own Cabinet colleagues and ruling party MLAs were opposed to them. He said that JNNURM grant worth several crores has been blocked by the Central Government due to lack of reforms.