Amid a backlash against Kashmiris in various parts of the country following the terror attack in Pulwama, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah today lashed out at both BJP and the Congress, saying Kashmiris got no comfort from either. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, said Kashmir needs an embrace, not guns, was not spared either.
Since a homegrown terrorist drove an RDX-filled vehicle into a CRPF convoy last week, killing 40 soldiers, Kashmiris have been bearing the brunt of anger from a section of the population. Traders and students from Kashmir have been targeted in parts of the country, including in Bengal and near Delhi. Meghalaya Governor Tathagatha Roy has called for a boycott of all things Kashmiri.
Rajasthan Governor Kalyan Singh said it was time to scrap the Constitution's Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu and Kashmir. "It encourages separatists and poses a danger to the unity and integrity of the country," Mr Singh was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
"We wanted to listen to the Prime Minister condemning these statements. If he was busy, then at least the home minister could have said something. But we got nothing but silence," Omar Abdullah said today.
Alleging Kashmiris are being targeted because of their religious identity, Mr Abdullah said the scale of incidents is far larger than was initially thought.
"Even if we say they are in hundreds, it would be an understatement. We thought it was in a small number, but for the last two days, it is clear that it is much bigger... state governors have openly called for economic condemnation of a whole community," he said.
He also hit out at Congress, saying the party did not say anything in favour of the Kashmiris either. "The way Kashmiri students are being attacked... we regret that the Congress has not responded properly. Elections will come and the same party will ask them for votes," he added.
Mr Abdullah's National Conference has been an ally of the Congress-led UPA and the former Chief Minister has been an active participant in the efforts to build an united front to take on the BJP in the coming national elections.
Following the attacks, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi had said he and his party stands with the government and would not get into "any other discussion" over the next few days. After a week's break, the Congress today targeted the government over the Pulwama attack, presenting five questions and alleging that PM Modi, who was present at the shooting of a film in Corbett National Park during the attack, did not leave immediately even when he got the news.
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