Kolkata: Union Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said separatists would not get "an inch" of Kashmir and asked foreign ambassadors who visited the state to also undertake a trip to Pakistan occupied Kashmir.
"Not a single person in India will give an inch of
Kashmir to them," Abdullah, also former Chief Minister of
Jammu and Kashmir, said during a debate here on `Civil Society
is also responsible for the emergence of terrorism in India.`
Pointing out that ambassadors from a number of foreign
countries visited Kashmir, he said, "How many of them visit
Azad Kashmir? Is India to be put on the road and be beaten?"
Stating that there were pockets of civil society
overtly or covertly supporting terrorism, he said that the
youth who pelted stones at security forces in Kashmir valley
had been paid to do so.
"We have to win them over with development, democracy
and empowerment," the National Conference leader said.
Advocating anti-terror laws like POTA, Abdullah said
such laws were the only tools in fighting terrorists.
"During my chief ministership, I implemented POTA
going against my cabinet as it was the only option in fighting
terror. But during the elections, the Opposition brought this
up against me. But they did not realise that I did it in the
interest of the nation," he said.
He said laws like AFSPA had resulted in excesses in
the valley, but added that he was not in favour of withdrawing
it. "Let AFSPA stay, but let there also be justice."
Stating that a large section of civil society was
silent to the acts of terror, Abdullah said they needed to
raise their voices.
"When the Pakistan forces entered Kashmir in 1947, it
was the people of the valley who resisted them. Not a single
Hindu or Sikh was harmed.
"But I hang my head in shame to think what happened in
1948 when the Pakistanis came again. The Pundits had to leave
the valley. This would not have happened had civil society
protested like it did in 1947," he said.
Veteran journalist Dileep Padgaonkar, who heads the
Central team of interlocutors in Kashmir, pointed out that
separatist leaders had gained credibility among the youth of
the valley and said this could not have happened without the
media. "It is the media that keeps up the big fight."
Stating that a large number of NGOs were doing good
work silently outside the glare of the media, he said, "I have
a problem with those civil societies giving the impression
that they alone are the harbingers of truth and others are
just a sea of sleaze."
Differing with the motion, he said that the people of
the country were able to see through provocative statements.