Farooq Abdullah is confident that an “amicable solution” honouring the sentiments of Jammu as much as Kashmir will emerge soon, and declared that “Kashmir will never secede from India”, whatever Hurriyat hardliner Syed Ali Shah Geelani might say.
“The voices of secession will fall flat,” said the National Conference patron commenting on Geelani’s declaration on Monday that “Kashmir is for Pakistan and all Kashmiris are Pakistanis”.
He lambasted the freedom calls given by the Hurriyat Conference and refused to endorse the idea saying it might endanger the state’s survival.
“It is a question of survival. And therefore, I don’t think it is very good to think that we can remain free. The question is, can we survive free? It is not about survival as a destroyed state, but survival as a state, which is viable, where people can exist happily.”
“Religious sentiments of the people of Jammu have been hurt because of revocation of the land order. Their sentiments should be taken into account and honoured, and likewise that of the people of the Valley, who feel their supply lines have been choked should be respected in equal measure,” Farooq told HT in an interview.
He felt that no lessons had been learnt. “People’s religious sentiments were hurt when they made an artificial Shivlingam…. Now, when they believe that the land of Lord Shiva has been taken away, their anger is beyond limits. And, ‘blockade’ of the highway has made people in Kashmir feel that they are being choked.”
An artificial Shivlingam was constructed at the cave shrine in 2006, when S.K. Sinha was the Governor. This had triggered an outrage among Hindus across the country.
Farooq blamed the “Congress-PDP coalition government for committing one blunder after another — if the land was diverted, why it was taken back. It was never explained by the foolish and stupid government”.