Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi should follow Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s policy of friendship with Pakistan to find a solution to Kashmir issue, saying he will not be able to win hearts and minds of Kashmiris merely by doling out packages.
Observing that not only Kashmiris but also Muslims in general are feeling whether they are safe in this country, Abdullah said the Government of the day is doing nothing to allay their fears.
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Terming the situation in Kashmir as “very dangerous”, Abdullah said that even if the Prime Minister announces a Rs one lakh crore package, it is not going to win heart and minds of people by only dishing money.
“Final solution of the state has to be done with Pakistan. Otherwise we will suffer. The terrorists will keep on coming. What do we have to show other than God’s beauty that we have. And tourists don’t come when there is fear that their life is not safe. Has the Prime Minister tried to remove that fear in the mind of people of India,” Abdullah told Karan Thapar’s ‘Nothing but the Truth’ telecast on India Today.
Advocating that talking to Pakistan was must, he said, “it is vital for our survival so that we can progress like other states of India. Other states have reached the moon and we are still on the ground.”
And the National Conference leader’s advice for Modi was that he should follow what Vajpayee, a BJP stalwart and a former Prime Minister, did by inviting the then Pakistan President Gen Pervez Musharraf despite the Kargil war as he was clear that if the nation has to progress, then friendly ties with the neighbours are must.
“Vajpayee ji said that he will talk about Kashmir within realms of humanity (Insanayaat ke daayre mein) and this is what the present Government should do.
“I would tell him that if he wants to be the next Mahatma Gandhi of India, then be strong to fight those forces that are trying to divide this nation, divide religion, divide areas. Fight them and become greater than Mahatma Gandhi,” Abdullah said in a veiled reference to right wing outfits which he blamed for spreading communal hatred in the country.
Abdullah said that he was not worried about his state only but the whole nation.
“The communal tendencies that are rising in the nation are threatening the very existence of the state and what is happening here is exactly a fall out of that. The young man who was dead in Udhampur (truck conductor) has actually flared up and people are justified. What was his fault? And People are rising against it because the whole nation is in turmoil,” he said.
Talking about the beef controversy, Abdullah said what the independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid did by hosting a beef party at MLA hostel was wrong but his beating up by BJP MLAs in the state Assembly was also wrong.
He asked all nationalist parties to cut across their party lines and act quickly to defuse the beef row.
“Do not underestimate this. The younger mind who are educated are thinking about it. We must take steps urgently. All those who are nationalist, whether they belong to one party or the other, must take action quickly to turn the tide to a different side. Don’t sit on the edge of the disaster,” he said.
He said the present communal tension was threatening the existence of the state as well.
“I am afraid of another thing, the breaking of the state of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, Jammu going one way, Leh going other and the Valley going other way. This is more dangerous also. People (politicians) are not waking up to the dangers that are in front of us,” Farooq added.
He said the communal incidents taking place have their ramifications in the state also.
“So you can’t tell them to remain blind to things when media is so strong. Look at that Dalit boy dying and then that minister (V K Singh) saying that if a dog dies by a stone throwing, he is not responsible. What kind of statement is that. All these things communalise the whole atmosphere,” he added.