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Farooq Abdullah takes on Modi, says stone throwers lay life for Kashmir not tourism

National Conference president and former Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday created another controversy by defending stone throwers of the Valley, saying they are giving sacrifices for resolution of the Kashmir issue.

The former chief minister has, of late, been making statements which are perceived to be closer to the separatists' stand on the issue and also as an attempt to attract youth towards the National Conference.

Farooq Abdullah. Sameer Yasir

Farooq Abdullah. Sameer Yasir

Abdullah, who is the Congress-National Conference alliance's candidate in the Srinagar by-elections, was reacting to a statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Modi on Sunday after inaugurating the Chenani-Nashri all-weather tunnel, the longest in the country, urged the youth of the Valley to choose between “tourism and terrorism”, saying “40 years of bloodshed” has not done anyone any good.

Abdullah said the youth throwing stones have nothing to do with tourism, even though it remains the lifeline and primary source of income for Kashmir.

“I want to tell him (Modi) from this stage that tourism is our life and there is no doubt over it. But the youth throwing stones have nothing to do with tourism. They are not rendering their lives for tourism but for the resolution of Kashmir issue”, Abdullah said, while addressing the party workers in Srinagar.

“The youth who are pelting stones for the nation wants a concrete resolution that would accommodate the aspirations of the people of Kashmir,” he said.

A political heavyweight, Abdullah is fighting against a comparatively lesser known candidate, Nazir Ahmad Khan of the state's ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The Srinagar Parliamentary constituency fell vacant after the sitting MP of PDP, who later joined the Congress, resigned from the seat. The Congress and NC are fighting the election together on the two seats. The bypolls in Srinagar and Anantnag Parliamentary constituencies are going to be held on 9 and 12 April, respectively, and a total of 15 candidates are in the fray.

Invoking God and religion, Abdullah said Modi was not the one who provides the livelihood to the people. “It is Allah who is providing the livelihood to the people irrespective of their religions.”

“We (Muslims) have never raised fingers over their religion (Hindu religion). Even sometimes I have myself sung their Bhajans. They must not interfere in our religion”.

Meanwhile, Dr Farooq said United States of America wants to act as a moderator between India and Pakistan in resolving the Kashmir issue but India always expressed reluctance in involving them over the issue.

He said intervention of America in resolving the Kashmir issue was ‘a welcoming step.’ “America should act as moderator between India and Pakistan in resolving the long pending Kashmir issue in case the two neighbouring countries fail to resolve it on their own,” he said.

On Monday, Farooq Abdullah had sought help of pro-Pakistan Jamaat-e-Islami to fight and defeat Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which he said, represents "decades of suppression" of Muslims across the country and openly advocated the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir's special status since 1947.

Updated Date: Apr 05, 2017 21:25 PM

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