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JK CM Omar to meet PM over Army acquitting accused in Pathribal encounter

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New Delhi –  Jammu & Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is of the opinion that the acquittal of five army men in the Pathribal encounter case has put the Indian Army’s goodwill at stake. He spoke to CNN-IBN’s Suhasini Haidar and expressed his displeasure with the Army’s investigations into the case.

Below is the transcript of the interview:

Question: Mr Abdullah you had expressed disappointment with that verdict that let off all the army men who had been accused of excesses during the Pathribal encounter. In New Delhi, are you taking this issue up?

Answer: It has been taken up. We are expecting the Prime Minister in Jammu & Kashmir early next month; it is an issue I will be discussing with him. The army has said they don’t have enough to proceed with a court martial, my understanding is that the CBI has found enough. I am more likely to accept what they have to say that anybody else.

Question: No army is easily open to this kind of inquiry, yet the army has ordered the Macchil encounters as a court martial, yet the army did go through this entire court of inquiry.

Answer: All the good will that the army has earned in the state with the Macchil court martial has been undone by this decision on Pathribal.

Question: In 2010 the government had said in Parliament that they were considering moving AFSPA and yet the Congress feels it is ok to continue that alliance.

Answer: People might think you need to do an Arvind Kejriwal and sit on the street, but what happened, Arvind Kejriwal did a dharna for the Delhi Police what did he end up with, two policemen sent on paid leave. There are ways to take this argument forward, we have done our best to convince govt of India about the logic of our argument.

Question: Do you disapprove of Kejriwal’s dharna. Do you think CMs should take his example?

Answer: CMs are not put in office for dharnas. They are put in office to work with the government to try to resolve issues that is what he is going to have to do. Can the Jammu and Kashmir CM hold a dharna outside the Ministry of Defence? Would the media cover that equally positively?

Question: Are you confident about going into the elections with the Congress as a coalition partner?

Answer: It is under discussion. There are reservations in my party about fighting elections together with the Congress and there are sections in the Congress that would rather go it alone.

Question: What are the reservations?

Answer: Both Congress and National Conference have a presence in the 3 regions of the state. If we start giving seats to them we start to lose our identity in those seats, and what is the guarantee that votes will be transferred from Congress to the NC and vice versa.

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