Stating that Kashmiris are not ‘slaves’ of India, opposition National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said the country must uphold the honour and dignity of the people of Kashmir.”Unless and until you give us back the respect, the situation in Kashmir won’t change. They (India) can’t buy us with money even if they build golden roads. They must win hearts and minds of people,” Abdullah, three-time Chief Minister, told a gathering at Mandi in border district Poonch of Jammu and Kashmir.He also said that ‘independent Kashmir’ was not a reality as the landlocked region is surrounded by three nuclear powers – China, Pakistan and India.
“Independence is no option. On one side we have nuclear powers China and Pakistan and on the other India. All have atom bombs. We have nothing except the name of Allah. We have no atom bombs, no army and no jets. How are we going to survive,” he said. Reiterating that gun was not a solution to Kashmir issue, Abdullah, who represents Srinagar Parliament constituency in the Lok Sabha, said that the problem can be resolved only by winning the hearts of people and ending their sufferings.”Our nation (Kashmir) is not going to Pakistan. Their (Pakistan’s) condition is such that they are not able to handle themselves,” he said.The NC chief said the Line of Control should be converted into ‘Line of Peace and Goodwill’ to enable unhindered people to people exchange and trade between divided parts of Jammu and Kashmir.”Sooner the two nations appreciate the ground realities, better it would be for bringing thaw in the relations and ending hostilities of all sorts,” Abdullah said, adding the wars in the past seven decades have not changed the reality of Line of Control. Ploy to end quotasHe said the border hostilities were detrimental to both India and Pakistan and any full-fledged conflict will lead to devastation and destruction in the region. Abdullah said the country is passing through a difficult phase as attempts are being made to divide the society in the name of religion and caste and by encouraging sectarian divide. He referred to the violence over dilution of SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and said such machinations are being engineered to end reservation. The NC chief alleged that the present dispensation at the Centre was working against the interests of farmers, weaker sections, and minorities and expressed concern over growing suicides of peasants.

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