Terrorism is very much alive in Jammu and Kashmir and this can only end when India holds a dialogue with Pakistan, former Chief Minister and National Conference President Farooq Abdullah has said.
Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of spreading hatred that could harm India’s integrity, Abdullah said that Kashmiri Pandits needed a balm for their wounds which required love, not hatred.
“I am going to give you in writing with my blood that terrorism is alive and it will not end till you start talking to Pakistan,” he said.
“When you can talk to China which has entered our borders and land 16 times, why are you shying away from talks with Pakistan?” he told a news conference at Lakhanpur in Kathua district on Thursday.
Abdullah reached Kathua from Jammu by bus and participated in the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Yatra which entered Jammu and Kashmir from Punjab on Thursday for the last leg of the marathon nationwide march that began at Kanyakumari in Tamil Nadu.
Asked whether talking to Pakistan will end terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, he said: “We have to make an attempt but they (BJP government) are reluctant. They have to spread hatred to pitch Muslims and Hindus against each other for their vote bank.
“They are spreading hatred without caring for the safety of Hindus who are living in Pakistan and the Muslims of our country,” he said.
“If hatred is not removed from the hearts of the people, there is a threat to the integrity of India.
“A film (The Kashmir Files) was released to spread hate and use their plight to garner votes. They (BJP) have been shouting for their return and rehabilitation but what happened?
“Even those who have been given jobs under the Prime Minister’s package in Kashmir are facing threat to their lives due to terrorism but they do not see the danger to their lives,” he said.
Abdullah said both Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims have suffered and even his party workers and ministers were killed in large numbers since terrorism began in the Kashmir Valley.
“One of my ministers was blown to pieces by a bomb planted in his car. They were killed for upholding the tricolour. We had a choice to choose between India and Pakistan in 1947 but we preferred India as we believed that we will live honourably and with rest in the country,” he said.
“The more they spread hatred, the more they are moving towards getting engulfed by it. We need balm, and (we need) to spread the message of love.
“The Lord lives in the hearts of everyone and not in mosques and temples alone… We need to respect and honour each other,” Abdullah said.