Never instigated stone throwers in Kashmir, clears Farooq Abdullah

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Questions nation’s concern for Kashmiri Youth

Special Correspondent
Jammu Tawi, April 13
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah today refuted allegations of having hand-in-glove with separatists in instigating Kashmiri Youth.
Refuting the allegations of being hand-in-glove with separatists in instigating Kashmiri youth to throw stones, Dr Abdullah said, “Not at all. I have never played that and don’t tell me that.” Dr Abdullah was here in the town to attend a function organised as a part of Baisakhi Festival organised by a Sikh organisation.
On a question about his statements calling stone pelters “true nationalists”, which might have encouraged mob at Budgam in the April 9 bypoll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat which he contested, Dr Abdullah said, “every stone thrower is not like this”. Let us not generalize the situation”.
“There are many stone throwers, who are probably government paid, to vitiate the situation so as to see voters do not come out to vote. You have to rusticate such things,” said Dr Abdullah.
The former Union Minister however, lost his temper when asked whether he was trying to play with the sentiments of the nation by justifying the action of stone pelters in the valley.
“What is the sentiment of the whole nation? What do you want? Is the nation concerned about their (Kashmiri youths) sentiments, their future? Don’t you think these boys have some grievances or you are just worried about the nation?,” he shot back at the journalists.
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti post Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter last July, had accused Dr Abdullah and his party of engineering trouble in Valley and instigating Kashmir youth to throw stones at security forces.
However, reacting to disturbing videos from Budgam where a mob abused and manhandled CRPF men returning to their barracks from poll duties on April 9, he termed it as unfortunate and tragic and said, “whatever has happened shouldn’t have happened. I am grateful that the CRPF men didn’t react and kept their calm. Otherwise, the situation would have probably become nastier.”
The NC leader also took a swipe at the state government for the abysmally low percentage of voting on April 9.
With only 7 percent voting, it was the worst turnout in the state in almost 30 years.
“We have a government for two years. Where is the government looking? Polling was 29 percent when I was defeated. Today, it is seven per cent. Who is to be blamed for this?” he asked.
Earlier addressing a congregation at Gurdwara Yaadgar Guru Nanak Devji here, Dr Abdullah emphasized the crucial need for religious harmony.
He said that all the religions of the world essentially practice and preach the teachings for betterment of humanity.
“Paths may be different but ultimate destination is the same”, said Dr Abdullah.
He called for religious tolerance to bolster up the spirit of fraternity and brotherhood, saying it is needed more now than ever before when the society is ridden with the tendency of intolerance and hatred.
He cautioned against religious intolerance and said that it is against the pluralistic ethos of Jammu and Kashmir, which has been a shining example of inclusiveness.
He referred to the time tested unity displayed by Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Buddhists and Christians from time to time and called for emulating the same spirit for making the state a better place to live in.
Dr Abdullah exuded confidence that people will collectively foil the attempts of dividing the society in the name of region or religion, saying unity in diversity has been the real strength of this state.

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