‘Vajpayee-led BJP Govt released Azhar’
SRINAGAR/ JAMMU, Mar 8: Former Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) president Dr Farooq Abdullah today said that repressive measures and arrests in Kashmir won’t yield any results, saying that dialogue is the only way to resolve issues.
While addressing a gathering at his residence in Srinagar today, Farooq said that arresting people will not resolve anything in a sensitive State like Jammu and Kashmir where situation is always on the boil. “Such measures will not help in creating a peaceful atmosphere here. It is only dialogue that holds the way out”, he said.
Click here to watch video
The NC president said that repressive measures won’t prove effective to normalize situation in Kashmir. “Banning socio-religious outfits also won’t help. During Jagmohan’s time JeI was banned, their schools and institutions were closed. What was then Governor able to achieve by banning JeI? Eventually, they had to hold parleys with them. It is therefore reconciliation and rapprochement only that will solve all the contentious issues,” he said.
He lashed out at BJP and said that the ruling party is trying to polarize the electorate in the country in view of forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. “Such a tendency will prove detrimental to the unity and integrity of the country”, he said.
“BJP is trying to create a rift between different communities. Such a trend will prove detrimental to the pluralistic ethos of our country. India belongs to all and we all have to live in peace and harmony with each other”, Abdullah said.
The NC president said that minorities in the country feel threatened and alienated. “Minorities in the country are feeling alienated and threatened more than ever. It’s for the PM to address these concerns immediately and put a sense of security among all,” he added.
The former Chief Minister expressed concern over the deteriorating India, Pakistan relations. “It is for India and Pakistan to maintain cordial atmosphere. It is our State which becomes the battle-field for both the countries. People of our State have to suffer most in view of increased animosity between India and Pakistan”, he added.
“Is is high time for both India and Pakistan to find a solution to the protracted political issue of J&K by giving autonomy to J&K on either sides of the divide”, he said.
Dr Abdullah further asked the Government at the Centre to tell to the nation as to who released Azhar Masood in 1999.
Talking to reporters at the sidelines of function held to observe International Women Day, organized at Jammu by Women Club ‘Meri Pehchan’, Dr Abdullah said he had advised against the decision but the Government led by Atal Behari Vajpayee went ahead and released Azhar along with his associates to seek release of hijacked Indian Airlines passengers in Kandahar.
Dr Abdullah again reiterated dialogue between India and Pakistan, saying this is the only option to sort out the issues. He said the urges and aspirations of the larger peace constituency in the sub-continent will have to be satiated by bringing thaw in the relations of the two neighbouring countries.
Earlier, addressing the function, Farooq affirmed his commitment to women’s empowerment and reiterated 33 per cent reservation for women in Legislative Assembly, saying the party has already ensured one-third reservation to them in Panchayats and Urban Local Bodies’.
“If voted to power with absolute majority, National Conference will move towards this direction resolutely”, he added.
He referred to the initiatives taken from time to time with regard to social, economic and political empowerment of women and said whenever given opportunities, they have proved to be second to none and in fact excelled the men. He stressed the need for redoubling efforts to increase female literacy especially in remote areas and ensure their economic emancipation.
He referred to the landmark decision of the National Conference Government in reserving 50 per cent seats for women in the Medical colleges, which has added to their self confidence.
Provincial president Devender Singh Rana, was among those present on the occasion.
Meanwhile, former Inspector General of Police (IGP) Shafkat Ali Watali today joined National Conference in a function held at party office, Srinagar in presence of party president Dr Farooq Abdulla and former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and other senior leaders.