Verbal skirmishes on Budgam clashes ahead of J&K bypolls
J&K NC president Farooq Abdullah blames the Centre and Union Minister Jitendra Singh blames Pakistani agencies even as J&K DGP asks youth in the Valley to remain indoors during encounters
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah held the Centre responsible for current unrest in Kashmir and demanded a beginning of dialogue with Pakistan and Kashmiri people for a "solution". "Our heart bleeds when the blood of young man is spilled during broad daylight clash with the security forces.
“There is need to understand that young people's urges and aspirations have to be met, who feel pushed to the wall," the NC leader said.
He said the government at the Centre, in "mistaken belief", prefers "force over compassion and understanding" towards the problems of youth. "If New Delhi thinks that use of pellet guns would help restore peace, they are living in fool’s world," he said while holding New Delhi squarely responsible for the "current morass".
Abdullah is contesting the bypolls from Jammu and Kashmir’s Srinagar parliamentary constituency, scheduled for April 9.
Earlier, J&K Director General of Police, SP Vaid had said that it is “suicide” for young men to go to encounter sites. "Young boys should stay at home and not visit the encounter site. The bullet does not see who is coming or who it will hit”. He was referring to the stone pelting at security forces by locals during anti-terror operations and death of three civilians in recent clashes in Budgam. One terrorist was also killed in the encounter that ended about eight hours later.
"It is quite a grave provocation. We have been able to minimise collateral damage and civilian casualties but there has been a lot of provocation from the other side, instigating young boys, misleading them to throw stones and reach the site of the encounter," said Vaid.
J&K police chief SP Vaid also met Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State in the PMO and Lok Sabha MP for Udhampur, and apprised him about the security situation in the Valley. Singh on March 30 accused Pakistan’s agencies of inciting the youth in Kashmir through false propaganda on social media. “I would appeal to the youth there not to get carried away by such propaganda," the minister told reporters.
His assertion comes as normal life in Kashmir Valley is once again thrown out of gear for the past several days in protest of killing of civilians during the clash with security forces.
In an interview to a TV channel, chief minister Mehbooba Mufti also appealed to parents to "try and keep your children away" from encounter sites as they were "full of danger because of firing from both sides".
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to address a public rally at Udhampur on April 2. Chief Minister Mufti will also attend the rally. Meanwhile, separatist leaders have called for complete shutdown on April 2 to protest the proposed visit of the Prime Minister.
With inputs by NH Web Desk.