Panchayat elections not a referendum on Kashmir issue: Omar

April 14th, 2011 - 11:59 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu, April 14 ( IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Thursday warned against the huge turnout in the panchayat polls being read as some kind of a wave against separatists or a referendum on the Kashmir issue.

The first phase of the panchayat polls held in seven blocks in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday recorded more than 80 percent turnout, a surprise especially in the Valley that witnessed a prolonged summer of unrest and more than 100 killings last year.

“It was just the first phase. There are 16 phases, let the process complete. Let’s us not jump to the conclusion that the people have risen in revolt against separatists or they have given their verdict on the Kashmir issue,” Abdullah told a group of newsmen here late in the evening.

He said the panchayat elections were for local governance, and “not a referendum on Kashmir issue or on the central or the state governments”.

In reply to another question, he said that the police were investigating the murder of Ahle-Hadees leader Showkat Ahmad Shah and “I am sure, we will be able to track down the killers.”

A strong voice favouring india-Pakistan dialogue, the chief minister said: “I want India and Pakistan to talk and resolve all issues.’

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