Following the abduction and killing of a Territorial Army jawan by militants, NC chief Farooq Abdullah has expressed concerns over the “worsening security situation” in Jammu and Kashmir and said the Centre has to frame its response vis-a-vis Pakistan for bringing peace in the region. A 23-year-old Territorial Army jawan was abducted and killed by militants in Shopian district of south Kashmir while he was on leave. His bullet-riddled body was recovered from an orchard in Watmullah Keegam area of the district. Abdullah also termed the meetings of the Centre’s special envoy on Kashmir, Dineshwar Sharma, with people as a “formality” and said peace would be achieved only when “sincere and serious efforts” were made. “Claims of peace (in Jammu and Kashmir) are falling flat in the face of increased killings. Yet another jawan has been abducted and killed,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Kathua district. The NC president attributed the grim security scenario to infiltration by militants from across the border and said the Centre would have to frame its response vis-a-vis Pakistan for the larger interest of peace in the region.
All problems are originating from across the border and the life of those living along the border has become pitiable due to intermittent shelling, he said. “The nation should be taken into confidence as to how the Centre is sorting out issues with the neighbouring country,” Abdullah said. Unfazed by the criticism of his remarks that the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir belonged to Pakistan and “this won’t change” no matter how many wars India and Pakistan fight, he reiterated his stand saying this was the only realistic solution to herald a new era of peace and trust in the region. “Conversion of the Line of Control (LoC) into a line of peace will improve the living conditions of people on both sides and promote interaction and goodwill,” Abdullah said. On the appointment of the Centre’s special representative for Kashmir, he said, “Meetings of the interlocutor with the people are just a formality and peace will emerge only when sincere and serious efforts are made.” Border skirmishes and violence in the state has pushed the people backwards, Abdullah said, adding, “The border dwellers are suffering due to fear psychosis and uncertainty.”
About the proposed withdrawal of cases and release of stone-pelters, the NC president said, “The coalition is itself uncertain about all this…At times they say the stone-pelters would be released and at times they talk about sending juveniles to rehabilitation centres.” The former chief minister alleged that the present dispensation has failed on the deliverance front. “The scale of rations has been reduced and food-grains are scarce in ration depots. Prices are sky-high and essentials like LPG are going beyond the reach of the poor. Salaries of various categories of employees are being delayed,” he said. Claiming that the state is faced with a “development inertia”, Abdullah sought answers regarding “utilisation of the claimed funding from the Centre”. He also alleged that elected representatives and
ministers belonging to the BJP, which is a partner of the PDP in the coalition government, were being ignored by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti.
“The coalition partners have failed the people, who are realising the futility of their mandate,” the NC chief said. On the upcoming panchayat elections, Abdullah blamed the coalition government for trampling democracy by introducing “indirect election of Sarpanchs” and said “it is against the spirit of democracy at grass roots level”.