Farooq Abdullah, the former Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir and the union minister for New and Renewable Energy between 2009 and 2014, looked like courting another controversy after an address to his party workers; he was seen as whipping separatist and jihadi sentiments by extending his party’s full support to the Hurryat to aid their separatist struggle for the Kashmiri Azadi cause.
According to reports, he was addressing the party workers at the mausoleum of his father and founder of the National Conference, the late Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, on his 111th birth anniversary.
He was reported as saying:
We’ll never be free until we are united (against India), and I am asking NC workers not to stay away from the movement.
The flames will never die. They (New Delhi) will not give you anything. You should continue with this struggle.
We are part of the movement; don’t take us as your adversaries, we are a part of you. We have fought the jihad. Be united, take this movement forward. Go ahead, we are with you.
The support comes at a time when the separatists, aided by their Pakistani handlers, are getting more and more belligerent. The valley has been witnessing almost daily violence in form of stone pelting and protest events organised by the separatists in the aftermath of killing of terrorist Burhan Wani by security forces. The protests also saw the separatists creating a bandh calendar that ensured schools, except that of Sayeed Shah Geelani’s grand-daughter’s remained closed for over 3 months.
While separatists have received support from the mainstream politicians on occasions, Farooq Abdulla’s support came as a shock to most as his party is not known to harbour anti-India sentiments. It is the least separatist among the local parties in Jammu & Kashmir. In fact, Abdullahs have often been attacked by Pakistani elements for being “agents of India” as central governments in Delhi have always supported their tenures through all means.
But ever since the formation of PDP-BJP government in the state, Abdullahs have changed their tone. Just a couple of weeks earlier Farooq Abdullah had made a comment on India’s claim over Pakistan Occupied Kashmir by saying a ‘Kya ye (POK) tumhare baap ka hai?’
Incidentally a couple of years ago, when he was a minister and was enjoying fruits of power, he was quoted by a local newspaper talking about how ‘Azadi’ was not possible and how separatist groups were not helping in growth of Jammu & Kashmir.
But after losing power and all the facilities and benefits that come along with that the Abdullahs seem to be adopting a hardline approach. Even the junior Abdullah – Omar Abdullah – has been seen making controversial and extremist statements on Twitter.
Mark my words – Burhan’s ability to recruit in to militancy from the grave will far outstrip anything he could have done on social media.
— Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) July 9, 2016