Srinagar, Feb 24: National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah, today advocated for dialogue between India and Pakistan for restoration of peace in Kashmir, saying the “talk of bullet for bullet will only make the things worse”.
Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a prayer ceremony organized here to commemorate second death anniversary of NC general secretary, Sheikh Nazir Ahmad, Farooq said only way for improving situation n Kashmir is to start a dialogue. “The policy of bullet for bullet will only worsen the situation in the State. India and Pakistan need to come together and resume the stalled dialogue process to resolve the long standing Kashmir problem.
“Bullet cannot be an answer to a bullet. Bullet can be answered by patience, love and through dialogue. We should desist from that and hope India and Pakistan come to the dialogue table and a new phase of talks will resume so that this problem is resolved,” he said.
Farooq, who was also Chief Minister of the State, said “it is imperative that an effort be made towards restoration of peace (in Kashmir) and both the countries should talk peace. There is no other option”. He said there is a need for putting an end to the death and destruction going on in the Valley for too long.
“Death and destruction should come to an end so that the people of Kashmir can live in peace. The tourism season is about to start and if this death and destruction continues, who will come here? Who is going to suffer because of that? It is the poor people here who thrive on tourism,” he said.
Asked about the warning of Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat to the youth for interfering during anti-militancy operations, Farooq said “that is not right. That is unfortunate because if you have to address a problem, the solution does not lie in gun but talks. Dialogue is the only way and we have to tread that path. There is some reason why people are doing this (protesting near encounter sites)”.
“We have to look into that reason and address that reason so that guns stop and peace prevails in the State,” the NC president added. Farooq demanded constitution of a judicial commission to look into the reasons for local youth joining militant ranks and people rushing towards encounter sites to save holed up militants during counter-insurgency operations.
“We have to take into account their (militants’) sentiments. What is the reason for their taking up arms? A high level judicial commission should be constituted to look into what is compelling the youth to take up arms,” he said. Farooq also blamed ruling People’s Democratic Party’s coalition with Bhartiya Janata Party for the present trend of people rushing towards gunfight sites in Valley.
“The present Government (during polls) had made a promise to the people that they won’t align with ‘communal parties’. (Former Chief Minister) Mufti (Mohammad Sayeed) entered into an agreement with them (BJP). The people will not accept this. And this is one of the reason for it,” he said.
Farooq expressed his unhappiness over Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent statements during campaigning in UP elections describing them “regretful”. “It is regretful. Prime Minister should talk in such a way that unites people rather than creating a division. I had not expected such statements from the Prime Minister,” he said, referring to ‘Kabristaan and Shamshaan’ remarks of the PM.
In his address to a gathering of NC leaders and workers organized at party’s Nawai-e-Subh complex headquarters , Farooq blamed India for the ongoing violence in Kashmir valley and said the new generation of Kashmiris has ‘not taken to guns for chair but independence’.
Known for stirring controversies by his remarks, the NC stalwart said: “Today, if our children (militants) are sacrificing their lives, they don’t want to become MLA, MP or Minister but they are demanding their right. This is our soil and we are its owners, not you (India).
“Don’t forget, they are out (on the path of militancy for independence). Everyone loves his life, no one wants to die but they have promised God that ‘you are the giver and taker of life and to liberate our nation, we will sacrifice our life’… This fight is the fight that began in 1931.” Farooq said the new generation of Kashmiris has no fear of gun. “This generation is out for independence of this nation… But we have to save this nation,” he added.
Bailing out Pakistan for militancy in Kashmir, the NC president and former Union Minister said “if anyone is responsible for the present situation that is India as it has done injustice with us”. “I ask every leader I meet to talk about peace, talk to Pakistan… Everyday bombs explode there and also innocents die.
“They (Pakistan) are not responsible (for what is happening in Kashmir)… but if someone is responsible it is they (New Delhi) because they have not done justice with us. Had they done justice with us, today this wouldn’t have been situation,” he added.