Union Minister Ramdas Athawale on Saturday slammed former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah for suggesting talks with Pakistan due to increase in skirmishes in border areas of the Union Territory.
Speaking in Parliament for the first time since his release from detention, the National Conference president and MP Farooq Abdullah on Saturday advocated talks with Pakistan, saying if India can talk to China to defuse their border row, it can also speak to its other neighbour to deal with the situation at Jammu and Kashmir borders.
‘What India got in return?’
Slamming Abdullah, Athawale said, “India has always been a supporter of dialogue and peace. But Pakistan has always cheated. He (Abdullah) should remember that former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had begun the talks. (Former Pakistan President) Pervez Musharraf also came to India and what India got in return?”
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi invited the Pakistan counterpart at the swearing-in ceremony in 2014. His message was clear that India wanted peace and progress through dialogue but what was received in return?” he asked. Athawale said that the government is ready to negotiate and asked Pakistan to hand over Pakistan-occupied Kashmir back to India as Jammu and Kashmir is an integral part of the country.
‘A way has to be found to deal with this’
Pitching for talks with Pakistan, he said, “Border skirmishes have been rising and people are dying… A way has to be found to deal with this. Except for talks… As you are talking to China to attempt that it withdraws (from Ladakh border), we should also talk to our (other) neighbour to find a way to get out of this situation.” His advocacy for talks with Pakistan during the Zero Hour drew protests from treasury benches.
He also conveyed his gratitude to parliamentarians for speaking for him when he was under detention. The Srinagar MP also expressed his happiness at the findings of an Army inquiry into the killings of three men in Shopian in an encounter. “I am happy that the Army has admitted that three Shopian men were killed mistakenly. I hope the government gives a hefty compensation,” he said.
Officials had said on Friday the Army has found “prima facie” evidence that its troops “exceeded” powers under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act during the encounter in July and has initiated disciplinary proceedings.
Abdullah and many other leaders were put under detention by authorities last year after the Union government abrogated Article 370, which had given special powers to the erstwhile state, and split Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. He was released in March this year.
(With agency inputs)