Monday, February 28, 2011

*Geelani Wants Kashmir To Be A Graveyard?* We’ll Never Become Part Of Pakistan* India Must Accept NC’s Autonomy Proposal*

At Sheikh’s mausoleum, Farooq hits left, right and centre
*Geelani Wants Kashmir To Be A Graveyard?* We’ll Never Become Part Of Pakistan* India Must Accept NC’s Autonomy Proposal* Mustafa Kamal Should Exercise Restraint
FAHEEM ASLAM



Srinagar, Dec 5: In a scathing attack on the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, the National Conference president, Dr Farooq Abdullah Sunday accused the senior separatist leader of “wanting Kashmir to be a graveyard and in ruins.” He reiterated that Kashmir shall never become a part of Pakistan and that India must accept the party’s “autonomy proposal” as a solution to the Kashmir issue.

“I want to ask Geelani that which Kashmir he wants. The Kashmir of graveyards and ruins?” Farooq said, speaking in the backdrop of the recent unrest in the Valley which led to killing of over 100 civilians. “Hartals, stone-pelting and burning down school buses only cause destruction and poverty. It is not going to work. In the past five months, the levels of poverty in Jammu and Kashmir have increased while other states continued to flourish and prosper.”

In a typical colloquial lingo, Farooq charged Geelani with “having chicken soup while depriving the people of green vegetables.” “The poor grew poorer due to hartals and stone-pelting in the recent months. The vendors suffered immensely. The schools remained shut. I want to ask people how their children would compete with their counterparts in Jammu and other states with schools shut?” he questioned.

Farooq didn’t stop there. “I have been saying this and I repeat. I remember I once visited Jamia Masjid here when Miwaiz Moulana Muhammad Farooq was alive. I said there that Kashmir can never become a part of Pakistan. India is not ready to leave an inch of Kashmir.”

He said India cannot develop Kashmir until Kashmiris participated in the process of development. “Just think where we are heading toward,” he told a gathering of hundreds of National Conference supporters, who had assembled at Sheikh’s graveyard to observe his 105th birth anniversary.

“We have to fight the elements who don’t want peace in Jammu and Kashmir. If you won’t do it, we will continue to remain poor and undeveloped. Our children won’t find a space anywhere,” he said.

Without naming any separatist, Farooq said: “They send their children for studies to Malaysia and America but deprive others of studies. I wish I could see how Geelani would respond on this before God Almighty on the Day of Judgment. He (Geelani) has the chicken soup while depriving the people of even green vegetables.”

Urging people to “introspect”, Farooq said they need better roads, water supply and electricity. “But you must think on how all these things are going to come amid shutdowns and stone-pelting. I want you (people) to understand that the government employees didn’t suffer due to unrest. They got their salaries in time. It is you who suffer,” he said

Farooq said hoopla vis-à-vis Kashmir was created over the US President, Barrack Obama’s visit to New Delhi recently. “It was presumed as if the solution to Kashmir has come. But Obama is back to America and Kashmir is where it was,” he said. “We have been hearing such a talk for the past 60 years. How long shall we continue to suffer? The only way out is that India must accept our autonomy proposal as a solution to the Kashmir issue. The rest is all a bundle of lies.”

Grappling to name the Peoples Democratic Party, Farooq said “that lady” (Mehbooba Mufti) just beats the drum of self rule. “But which self rule did they get when they were in power?” he asked. “I have been saying that if there is any solution other than autonomy to Jammu and Kashmir issue, it must be told to the public and should be acceptable to them. They (PDP) raised the pitch over the revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), but were not able to do it. Now they just issue statements from their courtyards.”

He asked his brother and senior NC leader, Mustafa Kamal, to “exercise restraint” while issuing statements. “We are in a coalition government. I want to tell Kamal that he must not issue undue statements which are deemed to have been issued by me. I want him to remain cautious because PDP is waiting for such opportunities to corner the government. They are waiting to take over the charge of the state. So our leaders will have to talk sense,” Farooq said. “Don’t give Soz (Professor Saifuddin) a chance to run to Delhi and say that all is not well with the coalition. Nothing will happen. The government will complete its full term and the promises made to the people shall be fulfilled.”

Farooq urged people to get ready for a “litmus test.” “You should be ready for the Panchayat elections. You must field the honest candidates. It is a different thing whether they would be honest at the end of the day or not. Women must also field candidates who are able to raise their issues,” he said. “The elections will have to be held soon. I suppose Omar Abdullah has already made it public that they would be held in January next.”

He asked the National Conference workers and activists “not to fear anything.” “Life and death is up to God,” he said. “So we must not fear anything. The past unrest has brought Kashmir to a grinding halt. The ponnywals, hoteliers, shikara runners all suffered. It brought us a bad name. This time a Kashmiri is finding it difficult to get accommodation in other states. The people there fear that he (Kashmiri) might drop a bomb. Geelani and Hurriyat leaders must see to this situation also,” he said, asking the National Conference leaders to “at least listen to the peoples’ grievances even if they can’t address them always.”

Farooq minced no words in showering praise on his son, Omar Abdullah. “He is fighting. It is his courage that he has been talking about the revocation of the Disturbed Areas Act and the AFSPA. Who has this courage?” he said. “There are forces which are bent upon demolishing National Conference. But as long as our flag will unfurl, we will continue to work for the welfare of the people.”

Farooq asked people to remain cautious of forces who are for ‘disintegration of Jammu and Kashmir.’ “We will have to pray that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladkah remain united,” he said.

Farooq asked people to “remain alert” to what is happening around. “Different developmental works are being undertaken. You will have to be alert whether the cement used in these works is okay or not. Most of the cement is sold in the market. And that is what is happening with our ration, which is being sold in black in the markets. So you will have to keep a check on this.”

Farooq said the National Conference leaders must understand certain things. “They must not feel that they can do anything while being in the government. That is not the case. Those days are over,” he said.

Senior National Conference, Congress leaders and government and police functionaries attended the function. Three-tier security had been put in place around Sheikh Abdullah’s graveyard.

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