Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and Srinagar MP Farooq Abdullah on Monday challenged the Centre, saying the latter first hoist the national flag at Lal Chowk in the heart of Srinagar city before claiming about unfurling it in PoK.
Abdullah’s comments drew flak from the ruling party BJP, with Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh asserting the National Conference leader was supporting the separatists and militants. He affirmed that the tricolour is being hoisted in all parts of the state, including Lal Chowk.
Abdullah, who had recently claimed Pakistan Occupied Kashmir cannot become a part of India, said he only told facts and that what he spoke about PoK was the “truth”.
“They (Centre and BJP) are talking about raising flag in PoK. I ask them first you go and raise the tricolour at Lal Chowk in Srinagar. They can’t even do that here and they are talking about PoK,” he said.
“If you don’t like to hear the truth, then live in the untruth. The truth is that (PoK) is not our part and this (J&K) is not their part. That is the truth,” Abdullah said defending his comment that PoK does not belong to India.
He was speaking to reporters after paying floral tributes to Congress leader and MP the late G L Dogra on his 30th death anniversary.
Asked whether he was not hurting the Indian sentiment by making such comments, he retorted, asking “What is Indian sentiment? You think I am not an Indian?
“Whose sentiments are you talking about? Those crooks, who don’t sees our miseries. Who don’t see the miseries of our border people? How they suffer when shelling starts?”
When asked to comment on the recent killing of an armyman on leave, he said the Centre should be asked the question as it claimed peace had returned to Kashmir after demonetisation.
Abdullah deprecated the incident where two students did not get up when the national anthem was being sung in Rajouri district a few days ago.
Honour to the nation is important and national anthem is most honourable, he said, adding the government should take action against them until they apologised and gave an undertaking that they would not repeat it.
The National Conference leader said he was not aware if cases against stone pelters were being withdrawn.
He wished “good luck” to the Centre’s special representative Dineshwar Sharma who is holding talks with stakeholders to restore peace in the restive state.
Abdullah’s comments on PoK and the national flag prompted criticism from Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh.
“Farooq Abdullah is strengthening separatists and militants with his controversial remarks because he is frustrated. He has forgotten that tricolour is being unfurled in all parts of the state including Lal Chowk”, told reporters.