Omar flatly rules out division of Jammu and Kashmir

December 14th, 2009 - 7:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Telangana Jammu, Dec 14 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday ruled out any division of the state, rebuffing those asking for statehood for Jammu region, and said his government was trying to ensure that “justice is done” to the state’s three regions.
“Jammu and Kashmir is already a small state and we cannot afford to divide it to make it smaller,” Omar said.

He was replying to a question on creation of a separate state for Jammu region, as has been demanded by a group here after the central government’s tentative nod to a separate Telangana in Andhra Pradesh.

The Jammu Sangarsh Morcha has raised the demand for statehood for Jammu region, which has a larger area than the Kashmir Valley. Its convenor Virender Gupta claimed at a press conference Saturday that “Kashmir was dominating the other two regions.”

The Ladakh Union Territory Forum has asked the central government to grant Union Territory status to the Ladakh region.

Omar, who has been chief minister for a little over 11 months, claimed: “All the three regions (Kashmir Valley, Jammu region and Ladakh) were getting their due. We are ensuring that justice is done to all the three regions.”

But he hastily added, “Some regions and sub-regions needed to be given more autonomy.”

Omar’s party, the National Conference, is supporting the cause of Chenab Valley Hill Council status for areas north of the Chenab river, and Pir Panjal Council for the twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch - the hilly areas of Jammu region and dominated by Muslim population.

On demilitarization, the chief minister said this would be a decision taken by the union home minister and defence minister in consultation with each other. “No single individual can decide on that,” he said, adding that as “chief minister, I would be part of this decision making process”.

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