Farooq for dissolution of Assembly, fresh polls

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Feb 25: Nati-onal Conference (NC) patron and former Union Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, today demanded dissolution of the State Assembly and holding of fresh polls in the State which is under Governor’s rule as People’s Democratic Party and Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) failed to form the Government after death of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed last month.
The NC president in a statement issued here said that the State cannot be expected to remain engulfed in political uncertainty and that PDP and BJP should either form a Government or the Central Government should dissolve the State Assembly and hold fresh elections here. He said National Conference is fully prepared for fresh elections and the people of the State deserved a chance to elect a popular Government.
“If PDP and BJP cannot offer the State a Government despite continuing to be in an alliance, the Assembly should be dissolved without any further delay, providing the people with a chance to elect a new, popular Government. National Confere-nce will neither interfere into the internal dealings of the PDP-BJP alliance and nor will our party bail either of them out from this current situation”, said Abdullah.
“They promised the people of J&K good governance and development and their first year in power has exposed their failure to perform the most basic duties of a Government. They have deceived the people of Jammu and Kashmir and continue to be in an alliance for their own, partisan interests,” the NC patron said.
Earlier, in his address to the party workers at NC’ Nawai-e-Subh complex during a function to commemorate the first death anniversary of former NC general secretary, Sheikh Nazir Ahmad today, Abdullah demanded restoration of Autonomy to the State and pitched for friendship between India and Pakistan.
“Talks with Pakistan are important. A PDP leader accused me of once saying that Pakistan should be bombed. When my people were bombed and killed, would I not have raised my voice. Should I have said okay, it is fine, let them bomb us. What is our fault? I am telling you honestly that we have to live with India only. Keep this in mind that the other part will live with Pakistan… But our demand is that our autonomy be restored,” NC leader said.
Abdullah claimed that India and Pakistan were ready to resolve Kashmir but some elements in both countries are against any solution. “When I was Chief Minister I met the then Prime Minister of Pakistan in Dubai and he told me that they have decided to solve the Kashmir issue on the pattern of Ireland formula and India was ready,” he said, adding: “If India was ready for the resolution then why didn’t they make any progress?
“There are many people, both in India as well as in Pakistan, who do not want any solution to Kashmir issue as their shops flourish when there is confrontation and we keep on weeping. Whenever there is an attack in Kupwara, the intending tourists do not visit the State and people associated with houseboats, shikaras, shop owners, pony wallas of Gulmarg have to face the consequences,” he added.
The NC patron also said that money cannot win the hearts of people. “Even if many Farooq Abdullahs scream, people here will not budge. You cannot win the peoples’ hearts with money. You can win peoples’ hearts when you succeed in fulfilling peoples’ aspirations and then people will understand that you really are friends of Kashmiris. You cannot do anything till you win peoples’ hearts and apply balm on their wounds and that cannot happen with money but restoration of our honour and autonomy…”
“Peace can be established if you win peoples’ hearts and that can happen when you address the basic issues here along with firmly holding the hand of friendship (with Pakistan),” he said, adding that Pathankot and Mumbai (attacks) will continue to happen because some people want India and Pakistan to remain far from each other and fight with each other. “We have to fight those powers and that will happen only through the process of dialogue.  So, we have to take forward the dialogue process and address the issue so that people prosper,” he said.
The NC patron once again raised his demand of opening borders for the peoples’ movement and said: “The border should be opened. It is our people who live there (across the border). Let the heart-to-heart contact take place, so that people on both sides understand each other’ pain. I am sure that a day will come when the roads will be opened and people will join each other in happiness and sadness.”
The NC patron said that the Muslims are as patriots and Indians as are other people and expressed sadness over the way they are being treated by some sections in the country. “Today, a Muslim is seen with suspicious eyes. Is a Muslim not Indian? Has he not sacrificed anything? Have you forgotten Brigadier Usman (the highest ranking officer of Indian Army killed in the India-Pakistan war of 1947)? He sacrificed his life for saving the country. Have you forgotten those soldiers which were Muslims who fought for the nation and are fighting even today? Muslim is not the enemy of India and rein in those powers who label Muslims as enemies,” he said.
Raising alarm, Farooq Abdullah said: “The storm which is brewing in India is ringing alarm bells and if we do not understand this, if we continue fighting Hindus with Muslims, then I am telling them from here that they cannot keep Kashmir.”
“Unfortunately, we (Musli-ms) do not have chains attached so that we can unzip it to show how India lives in our hearts. For God’s sake, do not take this country in that direction where we can place a Hindu and Muslims separately. This is not that India -the India which Mahatma Gandhi, (Maulana Abul Kalam) Azad, Sher-e-Kashmir (Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah), Jawaharlal Nehru and others built,” he said.
The NC patron said that there is difference between Hindus, Muslims and Christians and all of them are equal human beings. “I keep on saying that there is no difference between our God and your’s. If there was any difference, then my blood would not have been red but green and your’s would have been saffron and Christians would have some other colour… the God has created all of us alike. Try to mend these differences and unite the hearts,” he stressed.
In his address, the NC working president and former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, today asked the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, to seek political package from New Delhi and said that Jammu and Kashmir is a political issue and it should be addressed politically.
“For Government formation, the PDP are not seeking anything political package, but are asking for money. The militant who picks up the gun today is not doing it for money. The issue of Jammu and Kashmir was never a financial issue. I had said this to Indian Prime Minister that we are not unthankful for the money you send to us but the basic issue of Jammu and Kashmir is a political issue and it should be solved politically,” Omar said in his address to the party workers at NC’ Nawai-e-Subh complex.
“You (Mehbooba) sacrificed your political agenda for power and then hope that people of Jammu and Kashmir would applaud, it won’t happen… I would be the first person to applaud you if you seek political package,” Omar said, adding: “some people who think that money would calm down the sentiment prevailing in Kashmiri youth are mistaken. Money is not the solution.”
Raking up the issue of Autonomy and State flag, the former Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir’s accession with India was conditional and blamed New Delhi for forgetting those conditions. “We have to stick to our core political thinking. We have to say with courage that the Jammu and Kashmir’s accession with India’s was on some conditions”, he said.
“You cannot compare us with Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal as they formed relations with India without any conditions but we kept conditions. We said okay we have created relation with you but then your responsibility would be limited on three or four issues and that is currency, communication, defence and foreign affairs and rest is ours which we call autonomy. What kind of justice is this that we (J&K) stick to our word but you (New Delhi) retract?” Omar said.
The NC working president said that State flag is the identity and mark of all three regions and vowed to protect it till last breath. “We have inherited this flag after accession. Who are you to snatch this flag from us? This flag is our identity and it is our mark. The lines on it are Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. We will protect this till our last breath,” he said.
Blaming erstwhile PDP-BJP Government for the ongoing disturbance in the State, Omar said one year ago people were eager to have a Government in place but now they are happy with Governor’s rule. “A year before people were eager to have a Government as first there were floods followed by code of conduct and then Governor’s rule,” he said.
“In 10 months, our PDP friends diminished all hopes of everyone. No one is bothered about absence of Government today except some PDP workers… but common people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh are not concerned. They are saying it is good and are happy about the absence of the Government,” said the NC working president and accused PDP-BJP of making fake promises with the people.
The NC working president claimed that PDP leadership is divided over CBMs and said that one of its senior leaders, Muzzafar Beigh, five days ago said they have not asked for any CBM. “Muzzafar Beigh said we have not asked for any CBM and we don’t need anything as our agenda is holy thing. May be he is not understanding the literal meaning of word holy. One (Mehbooba) is asking for CBM, another is saying no CBM and third one (Ram Madhav) covertly arrives in Srinagar for meeting and, without saying anything, leaves,” he said, adding: “They have made fun of this and some game is being played.”

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