|Jehangir Rashid |
Early Times Report
SRINAGAR, Aug 22: National Conference (NC) President and former Chief Minister, Dr. Farooq Abdullah today said that the fate of the people living in Jammu & Kashmir especially those living in the valley has been sealed and the future of people lies with India.
The NC President took a dig at the separatists and said that these people (separatists) would achieve nothing by demanding 'freedom' from Union of India. He said the separatists should stop day dreaming and instead devote their energy in solving the basic problems being solved by valley residents.
"It is high time that we redouble our efforts in removing poverty from the Kashmir valley. We have to live and die with India and people should have no doubt about it. The people of Kashmir are up against many odds and it is important that we solve the basic problems of people," said former CM.
The NC President while referring to his heckling at the Hazratbal shrine said that if the fringe group of people believes that they can achieve 'freedom' by mere sloganeering then they are living in fool's paradise. He said people as a whole should understand that there are no takers for concept of 'freedom' and Kashmiris should know that they have to live and die with India.
The former CM was virtually booed and hooted by a group of protesters while he was busy in Eid prayers at the revered shrine of Hazratbal. A group of agitated people stood up as and when they came to know that the NC President is present at the shrine and is about to offer the Eid prayers. The group of protesters raised 'pro-freedom' slogans and took pot shots to the recent speech of the former chief minister.
Few days back during the memorial service for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee at New Delhi, the NC President had chanted slogans like 'Bharat Mata Ki Jai'. This did not go well with many people of Kashmir valley and the reaction of the same was visible at the Hazratbal shrine here.
The agitators wanted the custodians of the shrine to throw out the former chief m
nister since they had tied a turban on his head. The NC president had barely entered the premises with an SSG escort, the security set up, that escorts and protects all the former Chief Minister's and their families.
Booed, forced to leave Hazratbal shrine during Eid prayers
People got up from the long lines in the premises. They were shouting that he should be "thrown away". The commotion triggered wave-like situation. As one side protested and sat, another side took over. At one point in time, the man in the pulpit also resorted to religious sloganeering so that the situation could be managed. But the 'pro-freedom' slogans reoccurred moments after he resumed his speech.
Due to the protest the NC President could barely offer the Eid prayers and he left the venue without listening to the mandatory Khutba (sermon). He was told by his security officer that the situation may go out of hand if he stays back and passes more time at the shrine. As soon as he left the order got restored at the Hazratbal shrine.
It would be in place to mention that one of the custodians stood up while protests were going on and tried his best to calm the agitators. He said that nobody will be permitted to tinker with Article 35 (A), but this too did not satisfy the group of protesting people. Due to the commotion the Eid prayers were also disturbed with some of the people pushing the others.
In the meantime, clashes broke out between youth and security forces at Eidgah-Srinagar and some other places of Kashmir valley. Both the sides were engaged in ding dong battles and the situation turned normal only after some hours. Although, some of the persons sustained injuries but there was nothing serious.
A police spokesman said that Eid prayers concluded peacefully across Kashmir valley in which thousands of devotees attended the prayers in different parts of valley. The spokesman said that isolated incidents of stone pelting by miscreants were reported from Eidgah-Srinagar, Janglat Mandi, Anantnag and Sopore after the conclusion of Eid prayers. However, Police exhibited utmost restraint in containing stone pelting mob.