Srinagar: Union Minister for New and
Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah on Sunday favoured talks between
India and Pakistan, saying it can resolve the Kashmir issue,
which is necessary to improve relations between the two
"Talks between India and Pakistan will resolve Kashmir
issue," Abdullah told reporters at the launch of `Vivanta by
Taj` Hotel here.
He said the relations between New Delhi and Islamabad
were strained. "Kashmir issue has to be resolved for improving
the relations between them."
On the killing of a panchayat candidate in Budgam
district on Friday, Abdullah said while the incident was
unfortunate, such incidents will not prevent the formation of
the grass roots level governance bodies.
"Panchayats will be formed as these bodies are not for
resolution of Kashmir issue but for local governance," he
Abdullah also expressed hope the situation in Kashmir
remains peaceful this summer so that people associated with
tourism trade can earn livelihood.
"Tell them (separatists) to stop pelting stones,"
Abdullah said. "Give them their share and everything will be
alright," he added in a lighter vein.
The minister said the gun culture in the state has only
harmed its people as the two decades of turmoil has damaged
"This property should have come up years ago but
because of the violence, it was delayed. Artisans, handicraft
dealers and others associated with tourism have borne the
brunt of the situation," he added.
He appealed to the corporate world to remember their
social responsibilities by donating to good causes and helping
"Remember the political parties also," he quipped.
Taj group today started operations at its first hotel in
the Valley, Vivanta by Taj, which sits atop a hillock
overlooking the Dal Lake and Asia`s largest tulip garden in
the heart of Srinagar.
Abdullah lauded the Taj group of hotels for putting up
a wonderful property in Srinagar which is going to boost
tourism in the state.
"It is remarkable how the group has renovated and
repaired the Taj Hotel in Mumbai after the 26/11 attacks. It
does not feel that such a tragedy had taken place there," he