Farooq asks Centre to win hearts in Kashmir

‘New Delhi made many mistakes’

SRINAGAR: Alleging that New Delhi has made “many mistakes” on Kashmir, National Conference (NC) president and MP Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said steps should be taken to win the hearts of the people.

He said it hurts people of the state whenever issues like “revocation” of Article 35-A are raised.

“It is not that Delhi has not made any mistakes. It has made many mistakes. What is the need to revoke (Article) 35-A? Why? People are hurt because of such things. If you want to connect hearts, then you have to do things which can win the hearts of the people. You cannot win without that,” Abdullah said here while speaking at a function at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC) here.

Abdullah, without naming anyone, said there were certain powers who do not want peace in the valley as their “livelihood flourishes on violence”.

“One day, a decision (on Kashmir) will be taken, but we should also try to stand on our own feet (till then). It is not easy, some people will not let it happen. Those powers who live on our blood, will not want to have peace here. They want to keep peace very far from us,” he said.

The NC president said the upcoming local bodies and panchayat polls were for the betterment of the people of the state.

“The government has announced panchayat and town area committee elections. This is not a decision for India or Pakistan. This is a decision for making your own life better – whether you want to make your village better, address peoples’ problems or not.

“Many outfits will try to not have these elections because their livelihood comes from our miseries. You see, hotels and houseboats are empty. Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Sonamarg are crying and traders are crying. There is nothing. For how long we will have to suffer,” he said.

The Member of Parliament from Srinagar appealed to the people to join hands and take the state out of morass.

“If you do not want that (to make future better) and want to go towards destruction, then there is no one to stop you. But, if you want to make the future of your children and compete with the those from India, then bring them to the level where they can compete.

“They cannot do it if our schools remain closed. If you really want to change the future of this state, then first try to make the future of your children better,” he said.

Abdullah hoped that a day will come when peace will return to the valley.

“I am sure that a day will come when we will live in peace and also with the country which is called Pakistan as we have a deep relation with them, all of our water goes towards them.

“A day will come when the relations between India and Pakistan will become stronger and we will come out of this misery. But for that, you will have to be prepared. You have to prepare for the municipal and panchayat polls. Elect good people and not those who will take your money and fill their pockets,” he said.

When asked whether it was the right time for the polls keeping in view the prevailing situation in the valley, the NC president said, “I don’t know if it is a right time or not, but the dates have been announced”.

Elections to municipal bodies in the state will be conducted in four phases between October 1 and October 5, while elections to panchayats in eight phases between November 8 and December 4.

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