Farooq Abdullah Says Stone-Pelters Fight For Kashmir, Not Tourism

Abdullah was reacting to Modi’s statement that the youth of Kashmir need to choose between tourism and terrorism.

With Jammu and Kashmir bypolls nearing, former chief minister Farooq Abdullah has issued a strong statement in support of the stone-pelters by stressing on their motive and fight for the ‘watan’ (nation).

The former chief minister was reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's statement on April 2 at the inauguration of Chenani-Nashri tunnel that the youth of Kashmir need to choose between tourism and terrorism. Abdullah said:

Those who are pelting stones have nothing to do with tourism. They do it for the sake of nation. They are sacrificing lives so that a solution can be found. They are not sacrificing lives for tourism... They (stone-pelters) will risk starvation, but will throw stones for the nation.

The US said on Monday that it would try and "find its place" in efforts to de-escalate Indo-Pak tensions and not wait till "something happens", indicating that President Donald Trump could play a role in such endeavours.

US ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley told reporters:

It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward.

Haley, a senior Indian-American member of the Trump cabinet, said she expects that the administration is going to be in talks and try and "find its place to be a part of that (de-escalating tensions)".

"We don't think, we should wait till something happens," she said

T Chhewang, a BJP MP from Ladakh condemned Abdullah’s statements, saying that stone-pelters were not innocent.

He added:

When stone-pelters stop security forces from working, it is an act of war.

Abdullah on Tuesday claimed that the upcoming bypolls to two parliamentary seats in Jammu and Kashmir presented an opportunity to the people to fight against the wave of tyranny and fascism sweeping across the country.

(With inputs from PTI, IANS, ANI.)