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Farooq Abdullah: Is this nation bothered about sentiments of Kashmiri youth?

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Farooq Abdullah has denied instigating stone pelters in Kashmir and said he suspected that some of them could have been paid by the government to vitiate the atmosphere.

india Updated: Apr 14, 2017 13:54 IST
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Ravi Krishnan Khajuria
Hindustan Times, Jammu
Jammu and Kashmir,Farooq Abdullah,Stone pelters
National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah denies instigating stone pelters in Kashmir. (HT PHOTO)

National Conference leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Thursday lost his temper when asked whether he was trying to play with the sentiments of the nation by justifying the action of stone pelters in the valley.

“What is the sentiment of the whole nation? What do you want? Is the nation concerned about their (Kashmiri youths) sentiments, their future? Don’t you think these boys have some grievances or you are just worried about the nation?,” he snapped at journalists.

The NC chief was in Jammu for Baisakhi celebrations when journalists queried him on the sidelines.

He also refuted allegations that he was hand-in-glove with separatists in instigating Kashmiri youth to throw stones.“Not at all. I have never played that and don’t tell me that,” he shot back.

When reminded about his statements calling stone pelters “true nationalists”, which might have encouraged mob at Budgam in the April 9 bypoll for the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat which he contested, Abdullah said that “every stone thrower is not like this”.

“Let us not generalize the situation. There are many stone throwers, who are probably government paid, to vitiate the situation so as to see voters don’t come out to vote. You have to rusticate such things,” he added.

Read more: Stone pelters just fighting for resolution of Kashmir problem: Farooq Abdullah

Post Burhan Wani’s death in an encounter last July, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had accused Farooq Abdullah and his party of engineering trouble in Valley and instigating Kashmir youth to throw stones at security forces.

Abdullah had kept his cool until he was asked about his comment on stone pelters. Reacting to disturbing videos from Budgam where a mob abused and manhandled CRPF men returning to their barracks from poll duties on April 9, he said that “it was unfortunate and tragic. Whatever has happened shouldn’t have happened. I am grateful that the CRPF men didn’t react and kept their calm. Otherwise, the situation would have probably become nastier.”

The NC leader also took a swipe at the state government for the abysmally low percentage of voting on April 9. With only 7% voting, it was the worst turnout in the state in almost 30 years. The violence on April 9 that left eight dead also forced the election commission to postpone Anantnag bypoll in the state from April 12 to May 25.

A repoll in 38 polling stations of the Srinagar constituency on Thursday recorded 1.99% voting.

“We have a government for two years. Where is the government looking? Polling was 29% when I was defeated. Today, it is seven per cent. Who is to be blamed for this?” he retorted.

Farooq had lost the Srinagar Lok Sabha seat in 2014, which had officially recorded 26% polling. He is locked in a straight fight with ruling PDP’s Nazir Ahmad Khan.

First Published: Apr 13, 2017 19:57 IST