The five years of Omar regime


The youngest of the infamous Abdullah family of Kashmir assumed the Chief Minister’s office. His party National Conference joined hands with Congress to form a coalition government. When 2008 protests in response to the Amarnath land transfer scandal were just dying down, he promised of development and prosperity. He voiced for a political resolution of Kashmir dispute even having earlier met then President of Pakistan, Pervez Musharraf. He stood for the removal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, the impunity law. He decided to ensure accountability by remaining accessible round the clock through a call centre managed by 20 executives. He put a bar on prepaid mobile and SMS services putting the blame on the Union government. A new recruitment policy was put in place. Daily-wagers were regularised without payments. Development of private sector proved a hoax. Employment opportunities faded away. Just days after he sworn in as the youngest CM of the State, armed forces killed two people in Bomai village of district Baramulla. A case was registered against 22 Rashtriya Rifles men. The fate of the case is well known. They evaded prosecution under the garb of AFSPA. In the meantime, he threatened to resign after Muzaffar Hussain Beg of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party accused him of being involved in the infamous sex scandal. His first brush with power proved a disastrous spell personally, when he separated from his wife Payal Nath in 2011.

The Abdullah dynasty was clean-bowled in the Parliamentary elections. Immediately he undid everything that he had done during his regime. The new job policy, his brainchild, was revoked. Ban on SMS was lifted, that too without Union government’s help. The near-end of his tenure saw his once rigid stance on AFSPA soften a bit. His initial demands of repealing AFSPA changed into wishes of amending it, to the least extent. His 24×7 accessibility was another fabrication. He only conversed with netizens after the humiliating defeat when he asked for suggestions for the upcoming assembly elections. So he came clothed but will leave naked. He oversaw the rape-murder of Shopian duo, Asiya and Neelofer, in 2009 and yes, he helped in hushing up the matter via usual probing orders. His initial statement ruling out rape of the duo was an insane one. His administration was caught napping as Kashmir erupted in 2010 for Azadi (freedom). He ordered probes into the 120 killings committed by his and India’s security forces. All the probes vanished in government files. Those found guilty escaped, courtesy AFSPA again. Kashmir suffered. Economically as well as physically. Families lost their sole breadwinners. And Kashmir sacrificed yet another generation to the cause of freedom. He consigned, saw and went dumb to the secret hanging of Afzal Guru inside Delhi’s Tihar Jail premises. He didn’t ask for mortal remains nor did he bother about the martyr’s last rites. Again the blame went on Union government. Bigger trouble came. An official enquiry in 2011 revealed the existence of about 2700 mass graves in three districts of the valley— Bandipora, Baramulla and Kupwara. Many of these graves hosted more than one dead body, unnamed and unidentified. These could and shall have been of innumerable disappeared persons and victims of countless fake encounters. He constituted a commission to probe out the incident. After some time, the investigation was handed a silent burial as was given to the graves itself. Floods in 2014 confirmed final nail in the coffin of NC government. Ministers disappeared from the scene. Rescue operations were biased. Relief items came out expired. Dewatering of Srinagar city was a tough nut to crack. To top it all, exams were postponed in favour of timely elections. Unhygienic schools weren’t closed earlier to send out a message that everything was normal and conducive for holding elections in the state. During this period of puppet governance, he learnt the A to Z of authoritarian politics. He apprenticed the art of crushing anti-India protests using brute force. Curfews became a norm. An inconclusive probe followed every killing. Banning internet facilities to mute the dissent became a feature of his rule. Top SOG men, for whom sympathy was just another word in the dictionary, were posted in areas of increased pro-freedom activities. And not to miss, he specialised in justifying and defending his wrongdoings on Twitter. To ward off irritating critics, he blocked them from social networks as well. For his well-wishers, it must have been painful to witness such a whitewash inflicted upon his party in the Parliamentary elections. Many others sure of his delivering capabilities must be discontented seeing him fail in performing according to his own manifestations. And why shall they not be. After all, the “Madr e Meherbaan” Begum Akbar Jahan, grandmother of Omar Abdullah, saw the ideological successor to Sheikh Abdullah in him after being disappointed with political (dis)abilities of Farooq Abdullah. His all promises have turned parodies. He has openly declared his helplessness at getting things changed in Kashmir. Here is a Chief Minister, born in London, well qualified, once aspiring to represent the true sentiments of Kashmiri people, lamenting and mourning his failure to fulfil his pledges. For people who have never anticipated an iota of goodness, generosity and benevolence from the mainstream political system, Omar Abdullah was just another person among the flock of phony politicians. His dormancy reflects temperament of the people ie. they don’t accept adherence to a state that’s incumbent in eliminating their descent.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the website)