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Appealing for harmony; Omar, Mehbooba urge Centre to ensure safety of Kashmiris

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Srinagar, Feb 18: Former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti Monday issued a joint appeal for maintaining communal harmony across the country and urged the Centre to ensure safety and security Kashmiris in other states.

The appeal came in the backdrop of reports of attacks on Kashmiris in some parts of the country.

The two leaders underscored the need to maintain communal harmony across the country.

By “attacking, terrorizing, intimidating Kashmiris, the youngsters of Kashmir are implicitly being told that they have no future outside of the valley,” National Conference (NC) leader Omar Abdullah and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti said.

“Intimidating” Kashmiris was aimed at creating a wedge between different communities in India, they said.

“We should not allow terror to divide us. By using such incidents to divide us, we fall into the trap of those behind the attack on CRPF soldiers; we are wittingly or unwittingly playing to the tunes of our enemies,” the leaders said in the appeal.

They asserted that attacking innocent people because of their ethnicity or religion was “no way to honour the sacrifice of the CRPF men”.

“Kashmiri Muslims or the Muslims of Jammu didn’t attack our CRPF Jawans the other day, terrorists did. This violence is a convenient tool by some to shift the blame. Let us unite against terror, let’s not allow terror to divide us,” the NC and PDP leaders said.

They said it was tragic to see educated and civilized people “spearheading vicious propaganda to paint Kashmiris and terrorists with the same brush”.

“The thought behind such attacks is to divide us. Our pain must not fuel such diabolical plans because eventually the axe forgets and the tree remembers,” they said.

Expressing dismay over the “continuous rhetoric being used against Kashmiris”, the leaders said no mainstream political party would condone terrorism.

“The ferocity of the rhetoric by certain media channels is also dangerous. They churn lies, hatred and divisive agenda by berating the national interests,” they said.

The leaders while expressing concern over the reports of violence and arson in Jammu described the happenings as worrying and urged the political dispensation and civil society of Jammu to ensure that cooler heads prevail.

They made an appeal to the Centre to ensure the directions issued to all state governments to ensure safety and security of Kashmiris are implemented.

“It doesn’t augur well for a democratic country like India to hound its own people in its response to the heinous attack on our forces. Hounding innocent Kashmiris will indisputably disenchant them; the humiliation, suspicion, isolation will push innocent Kashmiris to the wall.

“As a country, we need to stand together in this hour of grief and sorrow and not allow forces inimical to unity in our country to find any space” Mehbooba and Omar appealed.

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