Nothing can be achieved through threats, instead India and Pakistan have to hold talks for peace in Jammu and Kashmir, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah said on Monday.
His remarks come a day after Union Minister Jitendra Singh said retrieving Pakistan-occupied Jammu and Kashmir (PoJK) is next on the agenda.
Singh at a programme in New Delhi had said the leadership which has the capacity and the will to abrogate Article 370, also has the capacity to retrieve PoJK from the illegal occupation of Pakistan.
“I have been repeatedly saying that India and Pakistan have to talk (for peace in Jammu and Kashmir). Threats are being held that we will take this thing or that which cannot solve the issue,” Abdullah told reporters at the Digiana Ashram where he had gone to inquire about the health of Sikh leader Mahant Manjeet Singh.
“When they can talk to China which entered our territory and set up villages, why cannot they talk to them (Pakistan) who are across the border,” he said.
Insisting on dialogue between India and Pakistan, Abdullah said that “neither we have to give something nor can take anything. We have to work to set this line (Line of Control) right so that there is easy travel and trade on both sides”.
Those people who are on the other side of the line are our own, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said.
The National Conference (NC) leader, while welcoming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to repeal three contentious farm laws, said, “I am hopeful that they (Centre) will hear the voice of hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir and restore statehood along with the eroded autonomy if they really want to address ‘Dil ki Doori and Dilli Ki Doori’.”
In August 2019, the Centre had abrogated Article 370, which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated it into union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
On India-Pakistan, Abdullah said when people on both sides come and go, the hatred will be replaced by love which will pave the way for peace in the region.
To a question about the recent incidents of targeted killings by militants in Kashmir, he said, “This (militancy) is not a new thing for Jammu and Kashmir but once the hearts are won, the issue will be addressed.”
On demands for restoration of statehood at a time when the Centre’s has accepted to repeal the farm laws, he said, “I am hopeful that they (BJP government) will hear the voice of the hearts of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.”
“The prime minister had himself said he wanted to remove ‘Dil ki Doori and Dilli Ki Doori’ (while chairing an meeting of all parties of J&K in June). If he really wants to address the gap, it is imperative for them (government) to restore statehood and also return the autonomy which was eroded,” Abdullah said.
On upcoming assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “National Conference is ready for it even if it is declared today but claimed that BJP is not going to rule Jammu and Kashmir ever.”
About BJP’s target of 50 plus seats to form the next government in Jammu and Kashmir, he said, “They can do it only if they tamper with voting machines or use police and army to cast bogus votes.”
“One thing I want to make clear today is that BJP will never rule J&K. They will not even retain the number of seats which it won in the last assembly elections. They have to give answers to the people for their oppressive measures, growing unemployment and shortage of oxygen in hospitals during peak of COVID-19,” the Srinagar MP said.
Today unemployment in Jammu and Kashmir is the highest in the country and inflation is touching the sky because of rising prices of petrol and diesel, he claimed and requested the government to bring fuel prices under control to provide relief to the people.
Asked when he is expecting the report of the delimitation commission, which will be followed by elections according to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Abdullah said the final meeting is yet to be called.
“How come they complete the report without having the final meeting with the five MPs from J&K (three NC and two BJP)? They have not called us yet,” he said.
On the killing of four persons in the controversial encounter in the Hyderpora area of Srinagar on November 15, Abdullah said that “we want a judicial inquiry into the incident to unveil the truth”.
“The administration has ordered a magisterial probe into the incident but the officer can come under pressure from the government. We do not have people who can stand up within the system and speak the truth,” he said.
Earlier, interacting with Sikh leaders, Abdullah stressed on the need for unity and maintaining brotherhood and said “if we have to save J&K and this country, we need to stand united against the hatred and polarisation”