Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Friday allegedly said it is time India approaches a third party like China or the United States to referee the Kashmir conflict, ANI reported. Former chief minister and Farooq Abdullah’s son, Omar Abdullah, hinted that his father’s statements on the matter were misreported.
“For how long are you going to wait?” ANI quoted the National Conference leader as saying. “Sometimes, you have to pull the bull by its horns. The way is to have a dialogue.” He added that as India has many friends across the world, it can ask them to act as a mediator. “US President Trump himself said that he wants to settle Kashmir problem. China also said that it wants to mediate in Kashmir,” he added.
On Twitter, Omar Abdullah took on critics accusing his father of making inappropriate statements. “This is what I mean. Twist remarks out of shape so that the original intent and message is completely distorted,” Omar Abdullah tweeted.
“The stubbornness exhibited by both nations will not lead us anywhere,”Farooq Abdullah allegedly said. He further quoted former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and said, “Friends can be changed, but not neighbours. One can move forward while maintaining friendship or can regress by becoming enemies.”
Farooq Abdullah’s statement, however, evoked mixed reactions from many. Jammu and Kashmir deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh condemned it and said, “The Prime Minister is personally monitoring the situation in Kashmir, wants people to prosper and tread on path of development,” ANI reported.
Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi also refuted the statement and said that the Prime Minister and his policies have destroyed Jammu and Kashmir. Inviting a third party’s intervention is wrong, ANI quoted Gandhi as saying. “India is Kashmir and Kashmir is India.”
Omar Abdullah snubbed the Congress leader’s comments on Twitter. “My father is not a Congress Party member and does not need its permission or approval to before he voices his opinion. It is called free speech,” Omar Abdullah posted on Twitter.
But Peoples Democratic Party, which is part of the ruling BJP-PDP coalition, welcomed the statement, news reports said. “Happy if he [Farooq Abdullah] is asking for talks with Pakistan. If you want to resolve Kashmir issue, there is no other way,” said Peoples Democratic Party’s Sartaj Madnik, ANI reported.