Just two days after he asked New Delhi to explore "other options" if Pakistan continues to violate ceasefire, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said war is not a solution to any problem.
"No one in Jammu and Kashmir or in the country is in favour of war as it isn't a solution to any issue. Friendship requires equal response from both sides. If one side extends the hand of friendship, the other also needs to reciprocate," he said.
The chief minister chose to make the statement in frontier district Kupwara's Tanghdar area near the Line of Control (LoC) during a public gathering on Wednesday.
"Wars have never solved any issue and they only bring destruction and miseries," he said. Visibly angry over more than 200 ceasefire violations along the LoC and the international border in the recent months, the chief minister on Monday had called for exploring "other options" against Pakistan.
"India should tell Pakistan that such behaviour won't be tolerated. We have to explore other options if talks are not helping," he had said.
The chief minister's "other options" remark invited sharp reactions from separatists. Both hardliner and moderate Hurriyats described his "war cry" as "childish".
"Omar's statement is very provocative. He has to realise that any war between two nuclear powers will impact entire South Asia," said a moderate Hurriyat spokesman. Even a few mainstream political parties lashed out at the chief minister for "advocating war with Pakistan".
Visiting Union home minister Sushilkumar Shinde also downplayed the chief minister's suggestion. "We cannot become tougher by talking tough," he said on Tuesday.
Choosing to tone down his earlier stand, the chief minister said: "I want the issue of violations of ceasefire resolved so that peace returns along the borders and on the LoC."
"I hope that the situation will be back to normal and the two neighbours will talk to each other to settle all outstanding issues in an amicable and peaceful manner," he added.
There is continuous violation of ceasefire from Pakistan, triggering exchange of fire along the LoC and the international border in the state.
The large-scale ceasefire violations have left several civilians and soldiers injured so far. "The ceasefire agreement between India and Pakistan signed and implemented in 2003 has been the highest reward to the people of Jammu and Kashmir, particularly living on the borders," he said.
Meanwhile, the chief minister announced a special recruitment drive by the J&K Police for the youths of Karnah, Keran, Machil and other remote areas along the LoC "so that they get ample representation and opportunity to serve in the police department".
Firing takes sheen off Karwa Chauth
Ramgarh: Mortar shells and continuous firing by Pakistani troops prevented women from the border villages of Jasso Chak and SM Pura from lighting earthen lamps at home to mark the end of their daylong fast on Karwa Chauth on Tuesday night.
They were asked to leave their homes with their children and elders as firing started around 7.30 pm when the moon was yet to be sighted and husbands decided to stay back.
The ritual was performed in a neighbouring village.