Stop ‘Pakistan-sponsored militancy’ in J&K: Farooq to Imran

National Conference president Farooq Abdullah Saturday urged the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to “ensure that Pakistan’s soil is not used for militancy against India in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular”.

Addressing a religious congregation of Sikh community here, Abdullah said: “Our neighbour (Pakistan) has to understand that Jammu and Kashmir was never theirs and it will never be. It was, and will remain, under the control of India. They cannot change this truth. It is better that they extend a hand for friendship to India so that people of both the nations, particularly the people of Jammu and Kashmir, can live peacefully”.

The former chief minister said he still remembers how former Prime Minister AtalBehari Vajpayee used to say that “one can change a friend, but not a neighbour.”

“India and Pakistan can develop only by being good neighbours. Otherwise the graph of development in the two countries will only see a downward trend,” he said. Abdullah asked Imran Khan to “approach India for a meaningful dialogue and stop militants from Pakistan’s soil to be used against India, particularly Kashmir”.

Abdullah also targeted the NarendraModi government for what he called “dividing people on religious lines in the country”.

“Today, the rulers in New Delhi are making every effort to divide people in the name of Ram. I also believe that a temple of Ram, who is the lord of the entire world, should be constructed. But I want to ask the BJP leaders why they didn’t remember Ram in the last four and half years of their rule. Today, when elections are just four months away, they’ve started dividing people on the religious lines in the name of Ram. This politics of divide is dangerous,” he said.

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He further said: “We’ve to make efforts to ensure that every community—Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian—feels equal in India since this land (India) belongs to all. I believe that if any religion or the community feels unequal in this country, its accommodative and secular character will be lost. We’ve to foil the nefarious designs of BJP to protect the secular character of the country.”

Abdullah also targeted the former PDP-BJP alliance for the “mess” in J&K and “increase in militancy” in the state.

“Before PDP and BJP entered into an alliance, I had predicted that PDP will prefer an alliance with BJP but I was mocked that time,” Abdullah said. “See the results of their alliance today. There is all-time high militancy in Kashmir and no major developmental work is being executed there.”

He also took a dig at the central government for “not releasing the full amount promised under the PMDP”.

“While the Centre claimed it had sanctioned Rs 80000 crore package to the state under PMDP, former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said she got only Rs 10000 crore,” Abdullah said.

“If you (GoI) had paid full package, the condition of our state would have been different today. I pity on your blatant lies. You’ve failed to ensure connectivity of country’s railway line with Kashmir Valley. Until today, only Jammu to Katra stretch is on the railway map of India. You’ve failed to lay tracks beyond Katra. Initially you fixed the deadline for connecting Kashmir Valley by rail line as 2007, then 2014, then 2019 and now it is 2025. Please stop lying,” Abdullah said, referring to the government of India.

He also hit out at the PDP-BJP alliance for “worst condition” of road from Ramban to Banihal.

“With one snowfall, this road becomes a hell and thousands of people get stranded on its either sides. What have you done in your rule in the last over three years? Nothing, I believe,” he said.

Meanwhile, Abdullah assured the Sikh community members that if National Conference government comes to power in Jammu and Kashmir, he will probe the Chittisinghpora massacre afresh.

“I still remember how in Chittisinghpora, Sikh houses were set ablaze and community members killed on the day US president Bill Clinton was on an official visit to India. He (Clinton) asked me to have lunch with him, but I refused. When he asked me again why I didn’t join his lunch, I said how I could do so when innocent people, who have nothing to do with the Kashmir issue, have been killed,” Abdullah said. “I didn’t eat a single morsel and took then Punjab chief minister Prakash Singh Badal, who had also come to Kashmir, to Chittisinghpora, where I saw frightening scenes. The houses and corpses of the Sikh community members were burning into flames.” “I wanted to have this incident probed through a judge, who was brought from Madras to probe another case, but he (judge) was not allowed to probe Chittisinghpora case by New Delhi,” he said.

Abdullah, however added: “If you (Sikh community members) will elect our candidate and NC is voted to power, I promise you that I will launch a fresh probe into the (Chittisinghpora) massacre and expose the real culprits.”

He also promised the Sikh community members that he will request the civil aviation minister, government of India, to start a flight between Jammu-Amritsar and Nanded Sahib Gurudwara.

-GK WEB DESK-

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