Srinagar: Alleging that the security of its leaders was being "scaled down" by the government, opposition National Conference (NC) on Tuesday asked the Election Commission (EC) to ensure a safe and conducive atmosphere for by-polls to two Lok Sabha seats in Kashmir.
"As far as the current situation is concerned, we see that the security of our party leaders is being scaled down rather than being increased. Questions over security to sarpanches had been raised but I am telling you that the security of my former legislators and former ministers is being withdrawn," NC leader Omar Abdullah told reporters in Srinagar.
He claimed that when former ministers wish to visit their areas, they get security only after repeated requests. "In this situation, the EC expects us to fight elections.It should ensure that the atmosphere is conducive for elections," Omar, a former J&K chief minister, said.
The EC should ensure that those who want to take part in the elections as candidates or campaigners should get full security, he said, after a meeting of NC core group to discuss the upcoming bypolls. The Srinagar parliamentary constituency will go to polls on 9 April and polling in Anantnag will be held on 12 April.
The core group has left the decision (on candidates) on party president Farooq Abdullah, Omar said adding that when he decided an announcement would be made. Asked whether the party has finalised a seat-sharing arrangement with the Congress party, Omar replied that "as of now there is no such thing".
He however added that every option has been debated upon and the pros and cons analyzed. "Let s see now, what decision Farooq takes," he said. On a question about protests and stone-pelting near encounter sites, the former chief minister said the issue would not get resolved by threatening the youth. "The Government should deal with this situation. Since the past two years, these kinds of reports are constantly coming that youth and locals of those areas were trying to disrupt the encounters, there should be some way to make them understand. Threatening them has not succeeded," Omar said.
Referring to Army Chief General Bipin Rawat's remarks Omar said that he had said that such people be treated as anti-nationals.
"He had perhaps hoped that people after listening to this will prefer to sit in their houses. But even after his threat, perhaps people in large numbers (than earlier) came out of their houses. This issue won t get resolved by issuing threats," Omar said.
The NC working president said the PDP-BJP government should try to understand the sentiments of the people. He also hit out at the Central as well as the state government over the closure of the Srinagar-Jammu national highway for the past week.
This is very disappointing, we know no one has control over weather, but after (bad) weather the highway can indeed be cleared, he said.
"On one side you are telling us about the four-laning of the highway, you are telling us that Prime Minister is coming to inaugurate the (Chennani-Nashri) tunnel, but from past five to six days the people are not able to travel on the highway and passengers are stranded," he added.
He said that the shops in Srinagar are running out of food items and goods. Both Centre and State should look into this with seriousness that why they have failed to re-open the highway for consecutive six days, Omar said.
Somewhere there is negligence on their part and people are suffering, he claimed.
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Updated Date: Mar 14, 2017 20:16:28 IST