New Delhi | Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah alleged those questioning claims on the Balakot air strike are being branded anti-nationals, and said the time has come for people to ask questions from those in power.
Speaking at an event here, Abdullah turned sentimental as he expressed anguish over “power-hungry” people trying to go to any extent and spread “hatred” for more power, and said it hurts him to “see my country dying”.
“Surgical strike, Oh wonderful!! We shot down their (Pakistan) plane and (if) you ask where is the proof of the plane you shot, or where is the proof as Amit Shah says that 300 people died — you are anti-national you are against the country,” Abdullah said.
Last week, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale had said “a very large number of JeM terrorists, trainers, senior commanders and groups of jihadis who were being trained for fidayeen action were eliminated” in the Indian Air Force strike, while the government sources said 350 terrorists were killed. Later, BJP president Amit Shah put the toll at 250.
Abdullah alleged news channels were dishing out lies at the instance of vested interests.
“What do you see around? If you quote anything which they will not accept, you are anti-national, pro-Pakistan. Lies are being dished out by channels. The time has come when you should ask questions,” he said.
Abdullah’s voice choked as he cited an anecdote about Guru Nanak Dev’s visit to shrine of Kaaba.
“Who will save this nation? I see my country dying, it hurts me. Pray for an India that is blessed with love and peace and shines brighter than the Sun and stars,” he said, overcome with emotion.
He also expressed distress over situation in Kashmir, saying the youths in the Valley have “gone astray” and he struggles to think of ways they will be pulled back to normal life.
Abdullah also condemned Meghalaya Governor Tathagata Roy’s statement in which he favoured a call for the boycott of Kashmiri products and visiting the state as tourists, saying Jammu and Kashmir became a part of India because of Mahatma Gandhi, not for its might or wealth.
Abdullah was addressing an event at the Institute of Social Science on former socialist leader George Fernandes, whom the National Conference chairman termed a leader who tried to know the reason behind militancy in Jammu and Kashmir.
“As a defence minister, George wanted to meet terrorists to understand why they went against the nation,” Abdullah said sharing how Fernandes, accompanied by an editor, met with militants on one night in Kashmir.
Even when sitting in chair of power, Fernandes was humble, he added.