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National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday called for resumption of dialogue between India and Pakistan to restore peace in Jammu and Kashmir, saying the policy of “bullet for bullet” will only worsen the situation in the state. “If you want to improve the situation in Kashmir, then the only way is to start a dialogue. The talk of bullet for bullet will only make the things worse,” Abdullah told reporters on the sidelines of a function here.
He said India and Pakistan need to come together and resume the stalled dialogue process to resolve the long standing Kashmir problem. “Bullet cannot be an answer to a bullet. Bullet can be answered by patience, love and through dialogue. We should desist from that and hope India and Pakistan come to the dialogue table and a new phase of talks will resume so that this problem is resolved,” the former Chief Minister said.
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Abdullah, who was a union minister during the previous UPA government, said it was “imperative that an effort be made towards restoration of peace (in Kashmir). Both the countries should talk peace. There is no other option.” He said poor people in the state would be the worst affected by lack of tourism because of violence.
“Death and destruction should come to an end so that the people of Kashmir can live in peace. The tourism season is about to start and if this death and destruction continues, who will come here? Who is going to suffer because of that? It is the poor people here who depend on tourism,” he said. Abdullah also demanded constitution of a judicial commission to look into the reasons for youths joining militant ranks and people rushing towards encounter sites to save holed up militants during counter-insurgency operations.
“We have to take into account their (militants’) sentiments. What is the reason for their taking up arms? A high-level judicial commission should be constituted to look into what is compelling the youth to take up arms,” he said. Referring to the warning of Army Chief General Bipin Rawat to the youth against interfering in anti-insurgency operations, Abdullah said “That is not right. That is unfortunate because if you have to address a problem, the solution does not lie in the gun but talks.”
“Dialogue is the only way and we have to tread that path. There is some reason why people are doing this (protesting near encounter sites). We have to look into that reason and address that reason so that the guns stop and peace prevails in the state,” he said.