National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah on March 18 termed the Jammu and Kashmir administration "incompetent" after a conman posing as a PMO official got the requisite perks, and claimed it was befooled four times.
Kiran Patel, the fraudster hailing from Gujarat posed as an additional director (strategy and campaigns) in the Prime Minister's Office and enjoyed many perks, including a bulletproof car and security cover besides other hospitality.
Mr. Patel was on this third visit to the Kashmir Valley when he was nabbed by security officials on March 3.
Addressing a party function here in the south Kashmir district, Omar Abdullah said, "My colleagues are not provided security even after so many requests. When they have to travel and seek an escort, the police say they do not have any vehicle or personnel... It is fine that you do not have a vehicle, we cannot complain. But when a fraudster comes from outside, then you have the vehicle available."
“A person came from Gujarat and said he was an officer in the PMO, but no one verified his claim”, the NC leader said.
"They should have called the PMO to verify his credentials or a letter would have come from there. We understand that you (J-K administration) were befooled once, but what incompetent government is this that you were befooled four times," he said.
The former J-K Chief Minister said the fraudster was provided with a bulletproof vehicle, an escort at the front and the other at the back, a room in a five-star hotel, and held meetings with officers every evening.
Referring to Mr. Patel's photographs and videos which have gone viral on social media, the NC leader said Mr. Patel went to Gulmarg to inspect hotels there and even visited the Line of Control (LoC) in the Uri sector where confidential information may have been shared with him.
"He went to Uri, to LoC and was given a tour of the border. We do not know what he was told there and what confidential things were told to him. What kind of government is this?" Omar Abdullah asked.
He said fingers were being pointed at a Deputy Commissioner, but the reality is that the security was sanctioned by the police headquarters.
“A retired officer was made to write that it is the fault of a DC (Deputy Commissioner). I was a Chief Minister myself, a DC is no one to provide security. That decision is taken at the police headquarters. An ADGP decides whether to provide security or not. The decision to provide a vehicle is taken in the secretariat.”
"A DC does not provide for the bill of a five-star hotel, the Finance Department and the (Hospitality and) Protocol department clears that. If this is not incompetence, then what is?" he asked.
Lashing out at the Jammu and Kashmir administration, the National Conference vice-president said this administration was not for providing succour to the people, but only to please the PMO.
"This one (Patel) was arrested. But we do not know how many frauds must have come here. We do not know which hotel they stayed in. Some say three came here and then left. Is this a government?
"This government is not to provide succour to the people but to please the PMO. This is the difference between an elected government and one thrust from the above," Omar Abdullah added.
Interacting with reporters after the party function, the former Chief Minister alleged that only the frauds are benefiting from the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
"No genuine person has benefitted from this government. People are distraught. People agitated in both Jammu as well as Kashmir and forced them to cancel the (JKSSB recruitment) examinations which were to be conducted by Aptech — a fraud company.
"But, why did they bring such a blacklisted company? The companies are frauds, the officers are frauds. There is no justice for the honest, and the youth," the NC leader alleged.
He claimed the BJP was afraid of facing the people of Jammu and Kashmir, which is why elections were not being conducted.
"Elections can be held. There is no reason that they cannot be held. The Union Home Minister regularly said the security situation is conducive for elections, and we have to wait only for the weather.
"Now, the weather has changed. If you ask whether elections can be held or not, my answer is yes they can surely be held," Omar Abdullah said.
"But, if your question is whether the elections are going to be held or not, then I can only say that if the BJP is afraid of facing the people, then elections will not be conducted. If they are ready to bravely face the people — which I do not feel they are — but if they are, then yes, the polls will be conducted," he added.
About the ban on religious seminaries in Assam, Mr. Abdullah said there should not be any ban on any religion.
“The country’s constitution treats every religion equally. When the country’s leaders visit other countries, they talk about India’s secular character, and about Mahatma Gandhi. They say India rejected the two-nation theory.”
"Right now, there is a talk about G-20. There are those countries in G-20, which want justice with every religion. This is why I am saying there should not be any ban on any religion either in Assam or anywhere else, especially if there is no unlawful activity going on. They (seminaries) are giving education to poor children. What is wrong with that?" he asked.