April 2017 News

Youth Pelting Stones For K-resolution Not Tourism: Farooq To Modi

5 April 2017
Rising Kashmir

Srinagar: Opposition National Conference (NC) President and three-time chief minister, Farooq Abdullah Wednesday said stone-pelting youth were not giving up their lives for tourism but for resolution of the Kashmir issue as per the wishes of its people. 'If he is giving up his life, he is not doing it for tourism but for deciding the destiny of this nation, which should be acceptable to the people of this place and this needs to be understood,' Farooq said addressing an election meeting at Shivpora in Sonawar assembly segment of Srinagar parliamentary constituency which is going to polls on April 9. The NC President was reacting to the statement of Prime Minister Narendra Modi who on his April 2 visit to the State said Kashmiri youth had to choose between tourism and terrorism. 'Recently, at the opening of tunnel (Chenani-Nasheri), he (the PM) said youth here should think whether they want tourism or terrorism and I want to tell Modi sahab tourism is our lifeline, and there is no doubt about it but a stone pelter has nothing to do with tourism and that he would starve to death but pelt stones for his nation and there is a need to understand this,' Farooq said. Farooq is contesting bye-polls to Srinagar parliamentary constituency as the joint candidate of opposition NC and Congress. Reacting to the United States' offer of mediation between New Delhi and Islamabad, the NC president said the failure of the two countries to engage bilaterally over the years had added weight to the argument for international mediation. Farooq said New Delhi cannot remain invested in the status-quo on Kashmir issue and all possible methods of engagement and facilitation could be explored in the quest for a lasting resolution. 'NC has always advocated and encouraged bilateral engagement between New Delhi and Islamabad on Kashmir issue but unfortunately whatever rare efforts were made to engage bilaterally failed to yield any concrete results,' he said. 'To think that New Delhi can somehow afford to remain invested in the status quo on Kashmir issue is wrong and it is obligated to be proactive in seeking a just, fair and acceptable solution to Kashmir issue and had they been forthcoming and keen in talking bilaterally, the question of international mediation wouldn't have been raised today.' Farooq asked New Delhi and Islamabad to realize their responsibility in rescuing the tormented and suffering people of Kashmir from the throes of uncertainty and pain. 'You owe us your sincerity and commitment in initiating an open-ended, serious dialogue on Kashmir,' he said. 'It is a Kashmiri who suffers because of an obstinacy that has prevented comprehensive and sustained talks till now and sadly you expect us to suffer in perpetuity.' Seeking unity among all stakeholders in Kashmir, Farooq asked divided quarters to unite in the quest for resolving the political issue. 'Every conscientious individual and organisation in Kashmir - whether mainstream or separatist - should have the ultimate aim of facilitating a resolution of the political issue to give relief, hope and peace to our people,' he said. 'Unfortunately, rather than brining everyone together, various forces have chosen to fragment organisations and conglomerates under an operational policy to perpetuate confusion, chaos and contradictions in Kashmir.' The NC President said he asks all these organisations to come together guided by the common goal of working for the interests of people and the State above political and ideological divides. Referring to the statement of Jamaat-e-Islami, he said, 'Jamaat has said that they will support me if I take concrete measures for Islam and to them I say that our very political existence and identity as a people is under threat today and this is primarily due to our cultural and religious identity which the rightwing cannot reconcile with.' He said amidst this atmosphere of tyranny, bigotry and brazen anti-minority communalism, we all have to come together to safeguard our identities, our religious and political rights and our cultural ethos. 'It is time to rise above smaller divides and differences and realise that we all have an obligation toward our people first and foremost and if we don't join the fight against RSS today, our future generation will never forgive us,' Farooq said. He asked people to come out and vote in large numbers and not for only an individual or a political party but for their own dignity and honour on April 9 and April 11. 'This is not my personal battle or that or NC, this is a war of courage and resilience against those who want to rob us of our honour, our sense of pride and our very political existence as a brave, peace-loving people,' Farooq said. 'There will be attempts to scuttle your power to teach the PDP-BJP alliance a lesson and you have to defeat these attempts by coming out and punishing this opportunistic, evil alliance with your votes and every vote cast in favour of me in Srinagar and Ghulam Ahmed Mir in Anantnag will be a vote against those who have put our honour at stake.' NC Working President Omar Abdullah, General Secretary Ali Muhammad Sagar, Provincial President, Kashmir Nasir Aslam Wani, Senior NC leaders Ghulam Qadir Pardesi, Treasurer Shammi Oberoi and Youth National Conference Vice President, Ehsan Pardesi also attended the meeting.