‘Azadi’ no solution for J&K: Omar Abdullah

National Conference president Omar Abdullah has ruled out ‘‘Azadi’’ as a solution to the Kashmir problem and said the recent street protests in Valley were spontaneous.‘‘ISI and Pakistan had no role in it,’’ he said in an interview with a private TV channel. ‘‘What happened was a spontaneous eruption arising out of the fear that the economic blockade brought into people’s minds. Let’s not forget, even in the worst of times never was there an effort to cut off Kashmir economically from the rest of the country,’’ he said and added that it sparked off the reaction. ‘‘The protests are an upheaval of people’s pent up simmering anger,’’ he said. Omar said Azadi wasn’t in the Kashmiris’ interest. ‘‘It’s not a viable alternative to suggest Azadi or even accession to Pakistan,’’ he said. ‘‘I believe you can give Kashmir independence but you cannot give it freedom under the circumstances that prevail within the subcontinent. Even if India and Pakistan were somehow to decide to give the state independence, it will never be really free.’’ He said Kashmiris continue to remain alienated. ‘‘Children from good English missionary schools are out on top of the buses screaming: Hum kya chahte hain, azadi, Kashmir banega Pakistan. What more do you want to see; I think that is an indication of the alienation,’’ he said. Speaking about the wider Kashmir problem, Omar said Kashmir needed political handling and not economic reconstruction packages and confidence building measures.

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