National Conference President Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said autonomy to both sides of Jammu and Kashmir was the only viable solution to the nearly seven-decade old problem. “Borders cannot be changed but these can be made irrelevant and soft for people to people exchange and opening new vistas of trade and commerce for overall economic prosperity of the region. “We bat for autonomy to both sides of Kashmir and converting LoC-IB as soft border”, the National Conference President said while addressing a public meeting.
Abdullah said that issues between India and Pakistan cannot be resolved by guns or cannons, which have even been proven by four wars, but these can definitely be deliberated upon for amicable solution through a sustained process of dialogue.
He said the reality of LoC and International Border between the two nations cannot be challenged at the strength of military power and therefore the two parts of the state should be granted maximum autonomy.
In the context of Indo-Pak dialogue, he referred to the speech of Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Tanghdar, emphasising that friends can be changed but not the neighbours.
He said the intermittent skirmishes on borders have only aggravated the problems of the two sides of Jammu and Kashmir.
The NC President cautioned New Delhi against delaying the resolution of political issue of Kashmir, saying restoration of the commitments made in the Instrument of Accession is the only way forward in wriggling out the state from prevailing crisis.
He said the state of Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to India on three subjects of defence, foreign affairs and communication, which has been re-emphasised by the former Sadr-e-Riyasat, Karan Singh in Parliament recently.
He said the genesis of discontent among people in Kashmir was due to breaking of promises and said that mistrust among youth is deep-rooted.
“The alienation is growing among youth, who cannot be won over by brute force or the notes of Rs 500 or Rs 1000”, he said, adding that a meaningful engagement with all the stake holders had assumed immense significance.
Warning RSS against furthering divisive agenda across the country in general and Jammu and Kashmir in particular, Abdullah said that the state had not acceded to Hindu India but a secular nation, a proud abode for all faiths and communities.
“Nobody has right to undermine the sacrifices of Muslims in independence struggle of India”, he said and asked the BJP to refrain from practicing the British legacy of ‘divide and rule’.
Speaking on the occasion, former Chief Minister and National Conference Working President Omar Abdullah said that the state is facing grave challenge from divisive forces that were working overtime to generate hatred among religious communities and drift between the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.
“There are political forces that are engaged in furthering communal and caste politics, which is against the essence of pluralistic state like Jammu and Kashmir”, he said and urged the party cadre to stand against them for safeguarding the single entity and secular foundations of the state.
He said the existence of National Conference is due to its secular credentials and the cherished slogan of Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah “Hindu Muslim, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian Unity” will always remain guiding force for the party.
Omar referred to the polarising politics of the PDP and BJP saying while the former contested 2014 elections in Kashmir by instilling fear among people about the Sangh Parivar and later based its electoral plank on getting rid of Abdullah and Mufti dynasties’.
“Narendra Modi vowed during electioneering in the state to free J&K from Abdullahs and Muftis but took no time in allying with PDP after the poll results came out”, he said and decried the opportunistic politics of the two parties.
The former Chief Minister expressed anguish over large scale devastation and destruction in Kashmir Valley during over past four months and claimed 90 youngsters got killed, hundreds were blinded and thousands injured.
“And the irony is that some people in the Centre are under the delusion of youngsters getting killed for Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes”, he added.
He questioned the claims of normalcy dawning after demonetisation, saying the people of Kashmir would not sacrifice their sons for Rs 500 or Rs 1000 notes.
“There has been a widespread discontent among the people, which needs to be addressed by solving the political issues of Kashmir”, he maintained.
Omar Abdullah, who is on a three day tour of Chinab Valley along with his father, Farooq Abdullah and several other senior leaders of the party was addressing a public rally at Dak Bungalow Bhaderwah.
“Our accession with Indian state was conditional and was limited only to currency, defense and foreign affairs but gradually they started draining it.
Then they came with the false promises, be it Narsimha Rao’s ‘Sky is the limit’, or Vajpaye’s confession from Lal Qilla on 15 August and now Narinder Modi’s promises,” said Omar Abdullah.