One more possibility to attempt change.
Jammu and Kashmir proudly presents to the nation a young, dynamic and an extremely promising Chief Minister. Roots In Kashmir (RIK) team recognises the call for youth to lead the valley to a safe haven. When Omar was sworn in, his optimism suggested an outlook that the state is in a desperate need of. The press interviews indicated a vision, hope and a flicker of progress. Age by his side, political lineage to bank upon and a well-bred pragmatic mindset seems to have provided a leader to the clueless masses.
It was a great statesman like beginning when Omar honestly confessed, "I think most of the people, including me, did not make their voice heard when the Kashmiri Pandits were being forced out of the Kashmir valley by terrorists; and were forced to live like refugees in their own country".
However till now only the words have dispensed hope. Omar is an eloquent orator even though offensive at times. His infamous speech in the Lok Sabha had both critique and applauds come his way. To have said that ‘...Hum Masjid nahi girate, hum Mandir bhi nahi giraate…’ was a stale reminder of how truth gets buried... and that too at the periphery itself. Students (read young girls) were drooling over his ‘honesty’. I could not help but smile at their ignorance. By the time one Babri Masjid was reduced to ruins, hundreds of temples (1987-1991) had witnessed their silent brutal death. None to lament for them; till today.
Barring a few stray cases (not forgiven though), Omar Abdullah has been seen working towards change. He encourages healthy discussions and makes an effort to involve masses. But as a chief Minister he ought to also perform and not just attend forums.
A 2003 PTI report after Nadimarg massacre stated, "Omar Abdullah squarely blamed Pakistan-based terrorist outfits like Lashker-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed for the Nandimarg massacre. He flayed the Mufti Sayeed government for being "soft" towards terrorists and said while healing touch is welcome, the Chief Minister's primary concern should be towards ensuring security in the state.
Omar said no state government could dare to be complacent towards the security of the people of the state…. He criticised leaders of separatist Hurriyat Conference, especially its former chairman Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, for adopting "double standard" and not out-rightly condemning the Nadimarg incident. "They can only call Hartal and they have chosen a day when the entire Kashmir valley is in grief. Obviously, in the evening they will claim that the bandh was successful," the former Union minister said and termed Hurriyat as "Hartal conference."
Omar understands that the so-called Azaadi is not a viable solution (to Karan Thapar on Devil's Advocate on Sep. 7th 2008); a brave statement to be made when separatists had become the temporary pied-pipers of the valley!
We, at Roots In Kashmir, support reconciliation. But let us be clear on that. We do not support compromise. In the eyes of international law we deserve to be treated with equal respect and more so for being the native population.
There is extreme mistrust and animosity in the hearts of minority Hindu population towards the Muslim majority and on the other hand, Muslims too have faced the heat of terrorists. It is imperative that our new chief minister becomes a bridge for the estranged Kashmiri communities. In the state there is pain at all levels that ought to be mended. As his tenure begins, rational individuals must come forward and support sane policies that perhaps the CM recommends. If Omar Abdullah works without the baggage of his father and grandfather’s chameleon actions, there shall be a great deal of progress that Jammu and Kashmir would be able to witness.
The writer Pooja Shali is a student of Masters in Mass Communcation from MCRC, Jamia. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org