Independence No Option But Kashmiris Not India’s Slaves Either: Farooq

Jammu—Lok Sabha Member Farooq Abdullah said on Saturday that being landlocked between India, Pakistan and China, independence is no option for the Valley.

Addressing a public rally in Mandi area of Poonch district, the former Chief Minister said: “Independence is no option. On one side we have nuclear powers China and Pakistan and on the other side we have India.

“We have no atom bombs, no army and no jets. How are we going to survive as an independent nation? But, this does not mean that we are slaves of India.”

The National Conference chief said that India “must respect and honour the dignity of the people here otherwise the situation in Kashmir won’t change”.

He urged the New Delhi to try to win alienated hearts and minds of people as “nothing else will work even if you build roads of gold”.

He also reiterated the need for Indo-Pak dialogue and called for converting Line of Control into Line of Peace and Goodwill to enable unhindered people to people exchange and trade between divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Sooner the two nations appreciate the ground realities better it would be for bringing thaw in the relations and ending hostilities of all sorts” said Farooq. He said wars in the past seven decades have not changed the reality of Line of Control. He said the border hostilities were detrimental for both India and Pakistan and any full-fledged conflict will lead to devastation and destruction in the region.

Elaborating on the reality of LoC, he said, areas like Hajipeer and Chamb, captured in 1965 war had to be returned back as per mutual understanding. He said his assertion over the Line of Control may be criticized and contested but reality cannot be changed. He said conversion of LoC into Line of Peace will benefit peoples living along the borders on both sides, who have been braving the brunt of hostilities. He referred to the unimaginable sufferings caused to border dwellers due to dislocation from their homes and hearths in the wake of shelling and cross LoC firing, stating that unfortunately this has become a routine since the past few years.

Referring to obtaining situation across the State, the National Conference chief urged the Centre to resolve the issues which are essentially political in nature and try to win over the alienated hearts and minds by shunning the policy of creating divisions. He said the claims that demonetization had put an end to stone pelting in the Valley have fallen flat as the youth were now taking to guns. The situation therefore cannot be allowed to drift any more, he said and called for earnest initiatives to reach out to the people. He cautioned the Centre against taking the people of Jammu and Kashmir for granted and ignoring their legitimate aspirations.

Dr Farooq Abdullah said the country is passing through a difficult phase as attempts are being made to divide the society in the name of religion and caste and by encouraging sectarian divide. He referred to the violence over dilution of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and said machinations are being engineered to end reservation. He said the present dispensation at the Centre is working against the interests of farmers, weaker sections, and minorities and expressed concern over growing suicides of peasants. He said despite seven decades of independence, the farmers are continuously been exploited across the country. On the contrary, he said Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah brought a revolutionary Land Reforms Act which made tillers masters of their holdings overnight.

National Conference President also blamed the PDP-BJP dispensation in Jammu and Kashmir for failing on deliverance front, saying developmental inertia has taken toll of various utility services. He said lack of accountability and misgovernance have added to the miseries of the people, who are feeling let down on every front. He also referred to release of solar lights during his tenure as Union Energy Minister and regretted these are yet to reach the beneficiaries because of political considerations. He said the present dispensation will have to account for its non-performance and failures.

He exhorted the people to guard against attempts of dividing them on the basis of religion and maintain time tested unity to foil all these machinations.

 

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