No Way Out Except Holding Talks With Pakistan: Farooq Abdullah

JAMMU- Terming the killing of two police personnel by militants in the valley a sad story, the National Conference president said there is no way out except holding talks with Pakistan to end militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.

He also took exception to Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar's statement that the practice of offering 'namaz' in the open will not be tolerated and asked him to provide spaces to Muslims for prayers as the Constitution guarantees religious freedom.

Reacting to a question about the killing of two policemen by militants in north Kashmir's Bandipora district on Friday, Abdullah said, you think we are happy that they are killing people? It is a sad story and let the government who are saying everything is hunky dory (speak). Is it hunky dory? Are people safe? When your police personnel are not safe, how is an ordinary man safe?

The two personnel were killed in a militant attack on a police party in Bandipora district on Friday, evoking widespread condemnation from various political parties. The militants opened fire on the police team at the Gulshan Chowk in the evening.

Asked if he still insisted on talks with Pakistan, Abdullah retorted, You have to talk. There is no way out (to end militancy).

You can talk to China. What do you say about that? China is coming and occupying our territory. They are making their own houses in that territory. Let the Government of India allow discussion in the parliament to understand what the Chinese are doing, the NC MP from Srinagar said.

When a reporter asked him if, by insisting on talks with Pakistan, he was giving a clean chit to Pakistani militants who are killing people, a visibly angry Abdullah said, You are not a journalist. Your attitude is communal.

In response to a question about the Haryana chief minister's statement, Abdullah said there is a religious tolerance in the country and the Constitution also provides religious freedom.

If he does not allow prayers in open space, let him create a space where they can pray. Pray they have to, that is why open spaces are used because there is no place (for namaz), he said.

On reports that the J&K delimitation commission has called for a meeting with five MPs of National Conference and BJP in Delhi on December 20, he said the party has not received any invitation letter so far.

Let the letter come what we will do there, I have to say it there, he said, responding to a question whether his party will press for political reservation for Kashmiri migrant pandits at the meeting.

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