Former Union minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday backed stone pelters saying they were fighting for the resolution of Kashmir issue and have nothing to do with tourism.
“The youth who are throwing stones have nothing to do with tourism. They pelt stones for the sake of nation. They are sacrificing lives so that we can find a solution to the Kashmir issue. They are not sacrificing lives for tourism,” he said while addressing party workers at his residence in Srinagar ahead of the Lok Sabha bypolls in the state.
His comment seemed to be a reaction to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remark asking the youth of Kashmr to choose between “terrorism or tourism”.
“Please remember God is the provider not Modi. He is the God of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians. They call him something we call him something. We Kashmiris have always respected all religions,” he added.
Talking about the upcoming elections, Abdullah told his party men that it was a fight between fascism and secularism.
“We have to fight against those communal forces who are trying to divide the country in the name of religion,” he said. Abdullah is candidate of NC-Congress alliance for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat.
“This is not a fight between NC-PDP but between BJPs cultural and tyrannical onslaught on one end and Kashmiris’ collective honour and prestige on the other end,’’ he added.
Abdullah said he had warned voters against this onslaught even during the 2014 Lok Sabha and assembly elections.
“Mehbooba Mufti used to wear green and go to families of those who were killed and people thought she was Pakistan supporter. Where does she go now? Today she instead asks people had your children gone to army camps to buy toffee,” Abdullah said.
The NC chief said the need of the hour is not guns and grenades. “We can answer the communal forces with our votes. The right to vote is our right as we have given blood for this right.’’
He also waded into the electronic voting machine (EVM) row with a warning to voters.
“Please be careful about the machine, the infamous EVM. In UP people have demonstrated what was done. You also have to be careful, especially the polling agents about how is the EVM functioning,’’ he added.