Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday stressed on the need for converting the Line of Control as a permanent border and initiation of talks with Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir issue.
“How will you resolve Kashmir issue without talking to Pakistan? The two countries have to talk to each other. Also the Centre needs to initiate talks with the constituents of Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir to find an amicable solution to the issue,” the National Conference (NC) president said during the ‘Agenda Aajtak’ event in New Delhi.
He warned that if the Centre continued to ignore Kashmir, it will be up in flames once again. “... Fire is there which can be low on intensity for some time but it can again rise. Till when will we sacrifice the lives of our people and soldiers,” he asked.
“I know many people will not like it but there is only one solution to the Kashmir issue which is that this part of Kashmir remains part of India and that part of Kashmir remains part of Pakistan,” Abdullah said.
He had last year claimed that even former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had offered Pakistan to make LoC permanent border during his Lahore visit in 1999.
The former chief minister said that the Centre should take precise steps that can solve the Kashmir issue so that people live there peacefully and prosper. “As of now, there is no progress.”
“I would like people to remember when (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee went to Lahore, he said that India regards Pakistan as a nation and look forward to living in peace. People fear to visit Kashmir... Why is this fear, this fear should not have been there.”
He said that Kashmir joined India because of its secular credentials where people from different religions have equal rights. “But we are hearing voices today that India is a Hindu state and everyone is Hindu. Does this mean that a Muslim, Sikh or a Christian cannot be an Indian,” he asked, adding the government should allay these fears by “crushing” such communal voices.
“If you want to save India, then hold on to that thing which is in the Preamble in our Constitution... If you keep the country united, the nation will progress,” he said and warned that if these communal forces keep on creating a divide in the society, the nation will not progress and there will be enemies within the country.
“The time has come when we look into the mistakes and try to correct, heal people. Not to kill. Today, young children are out on the streets, fighting and your minister announces that because they did the demonetisation, things have stopped.”
“We will have to see which direction we want to move. We will have to find the ways which will make the nation stronger. Do not relax or rest after witnessing little things like exams that are being conducted, stone-pelting is stopped,” Abdullah said.
He warned that the simmering discontent among the people needed to be addressed quickly otherwise the spring next year may again see bloodshed.
“We will have to find the medicine of the pain,” he added.
PDP MP from Baramulla Muzaffar Hussain Baig said if the Kashmir issue is not resolved in the tenure of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, then it cannot be solved ever.
“Though Pakistan has been isolated on the international front, Indian government will have to rethink its Kashmir policy. Modi should unite other Saarc nations and confront Pakistan in resolving the persistent issue,” Baig said.