Farooq Abdullah takes up for militants, says they’ve made a promise with God

Srinagar: National Conference leader and three-time state Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah today came out openly in defence of militants, saying they have made a “promise with God” and are sacrificing their lives for freedom.Farooq’s rare pro-militant rhetoric, which came at a time when the levels of violence and sympathies for militants have significantly shot up, illustrated a stark change of heart for a political leader who had once advocated a full assault against militants and their backers.“If our children are offering sacrifices today, they do not want to become MLAs or MPs or minister. They offer sacrifices (to demand) their rights: this is our land, we are its owners,” Farooq said, addressing a gathering of his party’s workers and leaders at an event commemorating the death anniversary of his brother Sheikh Nazir.The NC leader’s new-found love for the separatist cause has a remarkable similarity to the soft-separatist politics of his party’s arch-rival PDP, which had blurred the lines between the mainstream and separatist politics during its years as the opposition party.Though Farooq did not make a clear mention of militants — instead referring to them as “they”, his speech was laden with references indicating he was eulogising the new generation of armed youth.Farooq, who has three times served as the CM, said everyone loves life and no one wants to die. “They have made a promise to God that he is the giver and taker of life, but we will give our lives for the freedom of this land,” he said.He said a “new nation has been born, which does not fear guns”. “This (new) nation strives to achieve the freedom of this country,” Farooq said.He also criticised the policy of responding to bullets with bullets. “If someone says bullets will be responded with bullets, (should know) that they are not afraid of bullets,” he said.The former CM linked the current phase of fighting to the 1931 agitation, which became the ladder to leadership for his father Sheikh Abdullah.He complained that promises made in 1948 — a reference to the implementation of UN resolutions on J&K which called for plebiscite — have been forgotten and asked India and Pakistan to do justice “with us.”

Tribune News Service