J-K students are being targeted, why is PM Modi silent, asks Omar Abdullah

Omar Abdullah at the press conference in Srinagar on Thursday. (Express Photo)

Former Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday castigated the Centre and asked why Prime Minister Narendra Modi was silent on Kashmiri students being targetted in various parts of the country.

"All over the country but especially in some areas, an entire population is being maligned. Our students outside the state, with no connection to politics, are being targeted and expelled. This is nothing but a conspiracy. Why is the Centre silent on it?," the National Conference leader asked while addressing reporters in Srinagar.

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Abdullah also said talks with Pakistan cannot be held in the backdrop of terror attacks such as the one in Pulwama, in which 40 CRPF jawans were killed. "Our PM has talked about a ‘muh tod jawab’ but such a reply is not possible in the current situation as the Pakistan PM has also stated that they would not think of but retaliate if any attack is launched by India," Abdullah said.

He said he would like to tell the Prime Minister that elections will come and go. "But, if you are ready to sacrifice an entire population for the sake of elections, it will be very unfortunate," he added.

The NC leader also slammed Congress and said not just the ruling party and the PM, but even the opposition has been absolutely silent on this issue.

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He also demanded that the students who were forced to leave their education and return to Kashmir in the wake of Pulwama terror attack be taken care of. "I would request the governor that the students who had to leave their colleges, hostels in other states, should be ensured safety. Their education should be taken care of. They should be accommodated in colleges and universities here till the situation improves and talks on sending them back to their colleges could be re-initiated," he said.

Abdullah cited Meghalaya governor’s tweet calling for a boycott of "everything Kashmiri" and claimed that Kashmiris are being alienated. "No one spoke of an economic boycott of Chhattisgarh when incidents targeting forces took place there. Will we be punished for being a Muslim majority state?" he pointed out.

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He mentioned that the NC has always wanted a dialogue to resolve the Kashmir issue. "When we talk of dialogue (to resolve Kashmir issue), we are branded anti-national," said Abdullah.

He also termed the withdrawal of security to mainstream political players (Separatist leaders) as "hugely regressive" and demanded that it should be reviewed.

When asked about his opinion on Imran Khan’s offer to solve the Kashmir issue through dialogue, he said, "Till the time attacks like Pulwama continue to take place, conditions would not be favourable for peace talks. If Imran Khan feels that Kashmir issue can be solved through dialogue, then he should help us."