Majid Kapra

Azad calls for separating religion from politics

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Says uncertainty must end in J&K whether elections are, or not held

Srinagar: Democratic Azad Party (DAP) chief Ghulam Nabi Azad on Friday said there was a need to separate religion from politics even as he called for an end to what he termed as prevailing “uncertainty” in Jammu and Kashmir.

Talking to the media on the sidelines of a function organized to welcome some new entrants into the party fold here this evening, Azad said the sword of uncertainty has been hanging over J&K’s politics ever-since the elected government came to end in the year 2018.

“Whether elections are conducted here or not, uncertainty must end as the same has taken a toll on J&K and its politics eversince the coalition government came to an end a few years ago,” he said.

The former chief minister also said that those opting the “wrong path” might have compulsions and that he and his party wants all these youngsters to join back the “right path” so that they live a peaceful life.

“There are many youngsters who are choosing the wrong path like militancy, drug abuse and other things. I have seen during my tenure as chief minister that a youngster had joined militancy as he had no job and had five sisters. These youngsters opting the wrong path might have compulsions like unemployment and other things, which needs to be addressed,” Azad said.

“I don’t talk about those only who have joined militancy, but I talk about all the youngsters who are involved in other issues like drug abuse and other things as well. There are several reasons behind such actions of the youngsters, which include unemployment and other issues as well,” he said.

“When I was here (as chief minister), we were doing both things. Security forces were fighting the terrorists but we saved hundreds of youths and brought them back into the mainstream. No effort is being made in that direction now.

“You cannot just go on killing. That way we will kill the entire youth. In our families, our children sometimes do not listen to us. We ask their friends or teachers to make them understand and bring them back on track,” he added.

“Whether they have joined militant ranks, or are overground militants or their relatives or friends…  even the young people who take drugs, they too have gone awry.  There are internal and external reasons for this waywardness, which has to be addressed….”

On India Pakistan dialogue he said it’s for the Centre to decide whether the situation is conducive for dialogue or not.

Asked about Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti having vowed to not contest Assembly elections till J&K’s statehood is restored; Azad said “I cannot comment on a leader of any other political party, I respect them all.

“… there is uncertainty everywhere in J&K. Elections have not been held for the past eight years in J&K, so I cannot accuse them in this situation of uncertainty as they might be right….”

He then went on to add that “everyone has a right to put across his or her viewpoint but they should talk about uniting people, not create divisions. They should not divide people on the basis of politics or religion. We will have to separate religion from politics”

The former Union minister said there were some leaders and parties that were creating divisions in society.

Without naming anyone, he said “there are some parties whose statements and activities have the potential to create discord in society. I criticise and oppose such policies which can create divisions in the society.”

Azad also said elections should not be an excuse to spread hate, adding, “Elections have been held in the past as well.”

Jammu and Kashmir and its people are going through a testing time and mere slogans are of no use, he said.

“We have lost thousands of lives to some slogans. We cannot afford to lose even one more life to such slogans,” he said in an apparent reference to the separatist wave in Jammu and Kashmir in the 1990s.

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