US Troops Withdrawal From Afghanistan Carries Grave Threat For J&K: Farooq

US Troops Withdrawal From Afghanistan Carries Grave Threat For J&K: Farooq

4 February 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Mohinder Verma

Jammu: Stating that withdrawal of American troops from the Afghanistan will pose a grave threat to entire country in general and militancy infested Jammu and Kashmir in particular, Union Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah today cautioned against lowering of guards in any part of the country and stressed that Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) should continue in the border areas of the State so that security personnel could take on the forces inimical to the peace with heavy hands. In an informal interaction with the media persons here this morning, Dr Abdullah, who is also president of the Jammu and Kashmir National Conference, said, “there is no doubt that we all are really worried as to what will happen after the American troops leave Afghanistan. We are worried about what is Taliban going to do, what is Al-Qaeda going to do because there is a feeling that the Pan-Islamic forces want to spread through gun and it is going to be dangerous for all of us”. Stating that India would have to be extremely cautious, he ruled out any security relaxation claiming that terrorist outfits will try to destabilize the country particularly the Jammu and Kashmir. “We have to be very cautions. We have to be very careful in whatever steps we take”, he said, adding “we must remember that security of India is prime importance to all of us as we can sleep with ease only when we are sure that we are safe and for that all Indians have to be careful”. Referring to its impact on Jammu and Kashmir, which has faced the brunt of decades long militancy and has the hostile neighbourhood supporting anti-India forces, the Union Minister said, “our region is one which is always on the focus of such forces as such we have to be extremely cautious in this part of the country”, adding “that is why it is important that we choose a Government that can hold India together and fight the menace of terrorism and create strength”. When asked how would be justify the demand for revocation of Armed Forces Special Power Act when the situation is going to be grave, the former Chief Minister of State said, “as far as AFSPA is concerned National Conference’s stand is that it should be revoked from the areas where it is no longer needed. It should go from those places where Army is not operating”. He, however, advocated continuance of AFSPA in the border areas. “On the border we need AFSPA because we have got problem from our neighbour. So you cannot give up from the border areas but in the hinterlands where there is no question of militancy of that nature, AFSPA should be revoked”, he said and stressed that there was no need to lower guard on the borders not only in Jammu and Kashmir but across the country as forces hell bent to destabilize India are still active and will get boost following withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan. In response to a question regarding return of truckers stopped by Pakistani authorities at Salamabad, the former Chief Minister of the State said that instead of adopting ‘blackmailing’ tactics Pakistan must realize that law will have to take its course as the driver from other side was caught with narcotics. “At a time when entire world is fighting against the drug menace, which is holding us to ransom, how Pakistan would justify its stand”, he asked and stressed that truckers must be allowed to return back. About the Army’s closure of Pathribal case, Dr Farooq, in whose tenure the incident took place, said, “Army should reopen the case so that justice is served as nobody is going to accept that the dismissal of the case is final”, adding “I think Centre may soon reopen the case as Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah has also taken up the issue with the Prime Minister”. When asked to comment on the Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s jibe on Narendra Modi that “he is doing zahar ki kheti’, Dr Farooq refused to make any direct comment on the same. He, however, said, “she does feel as her husband (Rajiv Gandhi) felt that communal elements will destroy India”, adding “that is what Rajiv Gandhi always fought against. She is carrying the same thing that no communal man should become leader of this Nation”. “She is right. As an Indian, I would never want India to become communal,” he said, adding “it is a secular nation. All of us Hindu, Muslims, Sikhs are part of the nation. Therefore, you need a leader who will hold all of us dear to him and take this country forward to a better period”. Responding to another query regarding emergence of Third Front at the national level, the National Conference chief said, “Third Front has been in the news for a long time. There have been talks about it. I think Third Front will only emerge after the elections are over”, adding “once the election is over and seat numbers are there, then only one will come to a conclusion, whether that is possible and who will lead the Third Front”. About his meeting with Karunanidhi, he said, “I met him because of my relationship with that fellow. He has been great friend of my father. My only concern was about his health. No hidden agenda was there”. Regarding his change in stand with regard to BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi, Dr Abdullah said, “NC is not going to join NDA. Omar has also made it very clear that we are not going away from the UPA”, adding “it is not Farooq Abdullah but the people of India to decide in elections what they want-whether they want a secular Government or a communal Government”. In reply to a question about AAP’s allegation that the BJP leadership was conspiring to ensure the fall of the Government, Dr Farooq said “unless and until people want, AAP Government continue - which has been liked by the people”, adding “if these allegations are true then it is unexpected of a party which is eying to form next Government at the Centre. We all should shun politics of Aaya Ram Gaya Ram”. Asked about the demand of Sikh community for a SIT probe into the 1984 riots, he said, “no Indian feels what happened in 1984 is right. Whosoever is responsible, irrespective of his party or affiliation, should be tried and justice must be done for those innocent people who died”.