‘Is This Nation Bothered About Sentiments of Kashmiri Youth?’

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Jammu: Former chief minister and National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah Thursday expressed his anger at journalists ignoring the ground realities viz a viz Kashmir.

Don’t you think these boys have some grievances or you are just worried about the nation?,” he snapped at journalists when a reporter asked whether he was “trying to play with the sentiments of the nation by justifying the action of stone pelters in the valley”.

“What is the sentiment of the whole nation? What do you want? Is the nation concerned about their (Kashmiri youths) sentiments, their future? Dr Abdullah retorted at the reporters in Jammu on the sidelines of a Baisakhi function.

He also refuted allegations that he was hand-in-glove with separatists in instigating Kashmiri youth to throw stones.“Not at all. I have never played that and don’t tell me that,” he shot back.

When reminded about his statements calling stone pelters “true nationalists”, which might have encouraged mob at Budgam in the April 9 bypoll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat which he contested, Abdullah said that “every stone thrower is not like this”.

“Let us not generalize the situation. There are many stone throwers, who are probably government paid, to vitiate the situation so as to see voters don’t come out to vote. You have to rusticate such things,” he added.

The NC leader also took a swipe at the state government for the abysmally low percentage of voting on April 9. With only 7% voting, it was the worst turnout in the state in almost 30 years. The violence on April 9 that left eight dead also forced the election commission to postpone Anantnag bypoll in the state from April 12 to May 25.

A repoll in 38 polling stations of the Srinagar constituency on Thursday recorded 1.99% voting.

“We have a government for two years. Where is the government looking? Polling was 29% when I was defeated. Today, it is seven per cent. Who is to be blamed for this?” he retorted.

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