Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and opposition National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday claimed that the PDP-BJP government in the state was rendered “defunct” and its writ was being questioned on a daily basis by quarters it had tried to first appease and then, suppress. “Such is the writ of the government in the Valley that business establishments, transport, schools and every other sphere of activity is running as per the weekly protest schedules and calendars,” he told an NC rally at Kishtwar.
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Abdullah said Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti should not “misinterpret” the signs of normalcy and activities in the Valley as restoration of normalcy as all such activities were being carried out “in accordance with the weekly schedules being issued by Hurriyat leaders”.
“Mehbooba Mufti should see the writing on the wall and understand that the mass discontent is not only due to the complete refusal of the government to acknowledge the Kashmir issue, but also because of the PDP’s betrayal to those who had voted for and supported it during the 2014 election,” he said, while referring to the “anti-BJP” plank of the PDP during electioneering and its subsequent “U-turns” in the run-up to forging an alliance with the saffron party.
Abdullah alleged that the PDP had instilled a “sense of fear” among the voters regarding the “looming threat and danger” of the BJP making inroads into Kashmir, but ironically, “changed its colours with the sole aim of attaining political power at the cost of its ideology and promises”.
He claimed that “political opportunism” and “breach of the people’s trust” would have serious implications for the PDP. In this backdrop, strengthening of the NC “at the grassroots” assumed an “added significance” to meet the challenges faced by the state, said Abdullah.
The veteran leader claimed that the NC was “not guided blindly with the sole aim of attaining power”. Its unflinching political philosophy was to safeguard the honour and dignity of the people and uphold the unity and integrity of the state with opportunities of progress for all, irrespective of caste, creed, colour or regional affiliation, he added.
Abdullah reiterated the significance of dialogue between New Delhi and all the stakeholders in Kashmir and externally, with Pakistan, adding that sooner or later, the Centre will have to talk to Islamabad for lasting peace in the region.
He said the solution to the Kashmir problem lied in a “sustained dialogue” and not in the “military might” or “aggression” on the LoC and International Border.
The former chief minister said dissent and discontent in the Valley could not be silenced by “canons on the border or pellet guns in Kashmir”, but New Delhi must show “compassion” and try to win the hearts and minds of the people, especially the disillusioned youth.
“Any rigid stance in dealing with the volatile, complex political situation in Kashmir will prove to be counter-productive and have adverse ramifications for the entire region,” he cautioned.