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Entire J&K should condemn attacks on non-locals: Azad

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Srinagar: A day after three non-local labourers were injured in a terrorist attack in south Kashmir’s Shopian district, Democratic Progressive Azad Party (DPAP) chairman Ghulam Nabi Azad Friday said such incidents will stop only when the whole population of the Union Territory condemns them in one voice.

Azad condemned the attack that took place on Thursday evening in Gagren village of the south Kashmir district.

“The incident is very unfortunate. It is very sad and painful that the migrant workers, who have been coming to Jammu and Kashmir for so many years now for earning their livelihood and not just their livelihood but to help the people of Kashmir, have to go through this,” Azad told reporters here.

The former chief minister said it will not be good if non-local people are harassed or attacked.

“Labourers from our state also go outside to work, if someone does something like this with them, how will we feel…? The condemnations (for such acts) should not be limited to politicians only, those persons in whose fields or farms or houses they (non-locals) work, they all should condemn this.

“I am sure if the whole population of J&K condemns it, such acts will not take place again. When just a few political parties condemn it, those miscreants think the common people have not condemned it and so they carry on. This should be a public issue, they (non-locals) come here to help the people,” he said.

Asked whether the attack meant that there was a security lapse or there is the presence of militants in the Valley, the former Union minister said it meant both.

“I have said this during my government or any other government as well that providing security to each one or everywhere is difficult. It is also difficult to keep a round-the-clock watch on the labourers, it is not possible anywhere in the world.

“So, it is the presence of militancy and we have been fighting that for the last 33 years. So, it is there, but, unless people condemn it, they will continue,” he added.

To a query about the claims of two former chief ministers Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti that they were restricted from visiting the martyr’s graveyard here on Thursday to pay homage to the 22 Kashmiris killed by the army of Dogra ruler in 1931, Azad said the fight against autocratic rule in J&K was not on religious lines.

“It is a reality that before independence there was an autocratic rule here and the (fight against that) was not against a religion. Like Hyderabad, the Nawab there was a Muslim, but it (the fight) was also there.

“There is no Hindu-Muslim in Hyderabad. When someone says anything against the Nawab there, no Muslim is offended. Unfortunately, if we say anything against the aristocratic rule here, it becomes a Hindu-Muslim issue,” he said.

The autocratic rule was dictatorship, it was not only here, but in 562 states across India, the former leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha said.

“Somewhere it (the ruler) was a Hindu and somewhere it was a Muslim. It did not mean that where the monarch was a Muslim, the Hindus (only) were against him. That was a system, democracy versus dictatorship,” he said.

“Many of our people should have taken this thing out of their hearts that which religion did the monarch belong to. It has nothing to do with religion. The fight was against the system and it should not be taken on the religious lines,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a statement, Azad while condemning the attack said the enemies of peace are trying everything to hurt the peace and prosperity in Jammu and Kashmir with their nefarious designs by carrying out such attacks on the migrant workers.

Azad urged people to ensure their safety since the labourers belong to poor strata of society who toil hard to earn living for their families back home.

“These poor migrant labourers are the backbone of Jammu and Kashmir economy as daily-wagers who toil in every sphere of life in order to sustain their livelihood and targeting them is against humanity and principles of all religions,” he said.

Azad asked the administration to ensure safety of all migrant workers in Kashmir and provide all help to the injured at the SMHS hospital.

“I pray for the early recovery of the injured,” he said, expressing sympathy with the families of migrant workers who work in Jammu and Kashmir.

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