No regrets over accession remarks: Omar

Monday, November 8, 2010

JAMMU - Unperturbed by a shutdown in Jammu on Monday, the day government offices opened here, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said he had “no regrets” over his remarks on the accession of Jammu and Kashmir to India that he made in the state assembly last month.

“I have no regrets over what I said. I stand by what I said in the assembly,” Abdullah told reporters here, adding that what he said was “historically corrrct”.

He also wondered at those protesting his remarks. “These were the same very people who were thumping desks (in the assembly) when I was making my speech,” in a clear reference to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Abdullah, in his Oct 6 speech, said that Jammu and Kashmir had “acceded to India under unique circumstances and it had not merged with India”. He also said that “Kashmir was an international issue”, while stressing for inclusion of Pakistan in the “final settlement of the issue”.

The remarks created a furore in the state and in other parts of the country. The BJP termed it an “anti-national” statement and demanded that the chief minister be sacked.

Jammu observed a complete shut down Monday against Abdullah’s remarks. All shops and business establishments remained closed and commercial traffic was off the roads.

The shutdown was called by the BJP and supported by various other organizations.

“The overwhelming response to our bandh call shows that the people are against the observations of the chief minister. He should be removed immediately,” BJP state president Shamsher Singh Manhas told reporters.

He added that his party would intensify the stir.

However, the ruling National Conference (NC) has decried the “divisive politics of the BJP”.

“BJP is unnecessarily trying to make an issue of it. Omar had only made a statement of facts. Constitution and history bear a testimony to that,” senior NC leader and spokesperson Ajay Sadhotra said in a statement.

The National Conference also issued advertisements in the local newspapers welcoming Abdullah to Jammu on the day of the opening of the “durbar”.

Filed under: Politics

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