‘I hope incidents like civilian deaths will not be repeated again’: Farooq Abdullah

SRINAGAR — National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said he had no expectations from Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s Jammu and Kashmir visit but hoped that incidents like the civilian deaths in Poonch will not be repeated.

“I have no expectations from his visit. Can he bring back the dead? Does he have that power? But he can do this much that such injustice is not repeated,” Abdullah told reporters in Kulgam.

Abdullah said Singh was visiting “because our people were killed” and that the minister will “apply balm on the wounds of the affected families.”

Three civilians were found dead after they were picked up by the Army for questioning following a militant ambush on two Army vehicles in Poonch last Thursday that killed four soldiers.

The defence minister has flown to Rajouri to visit ground zero on Wednesday along with Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and Army chief Manoj Pande to review the security situation following the militant attack on the Army vehicles.

On Congress’ Bharat Nyay Yatra that was announced earlier on Wednesday, the NC president said Rahul Gandhi “is trying to unite the country”.

“He is trying to remove the mistrust and hatred between communities. We were part of this effort earlier and we will be part of it again,” he added.

Asked about his remarks on Kashmir turning into Gaza, a defiant Abdullah hit back and said, “What will happen if the two countries do not find a way for friendly relations? We have militancy. China is also sitting over our heads. If there is a war here, where will the bombs fall? Will the bombs explode in the air or fall on us?”

On Tuesday, Abdullah said he favoured talks with Pakistan, saying that otherwise “we will face the same situation as is happening with Palestinians in Gaza”.

The former J&K chief minister said he has been advocating talks between India and Pakistan to ensure friendly relations between the two countries.

“That’s why I often repeat Vajpayee’s words that we can change friends but we cannot change neighbours. The incumbent PM has also said that this is an era when war cannot resolve issues but talks can. We will pray that such time comes and talks happen here also so that the clouds of problems hovering over us disappear,” he added. — (PTI)