Unnao (UP): National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Friday justified the presence of Army in Kashmir terming it “necessary”, three days after his son and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah strongly pitched for “reduction of the footprint of security forces” from the conflict-hit state.
Referring to Aam Aadmi Party senior leader Prashant Bhushan’s recent statement on holding a referendum on Army deployment in Kashmir, Abdullah said the former “did not have full knowledge about Kashmir.”
Abdullah said that Army deployment in Kashmir “was necessary as it faced a threat from China and al-Qaida,” although he favoured withdrawal of Army from areas where it is not required.
Abdullah’s remarks contradict his son and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s recent statement on the Bhushan’s referendum call. The junior Abdullah had said that the “reduction of the footprint of security forces and phased revocation of AFSPA (from Kashmir) doesn’t need a referendum, just a courageous statesman to decide.”
“Governments get a mandate to govern and decide, they don’t need to conduct a referendum before every tricky decision. Leaders must lead,” Omar had said.
Meanwhile, ruling out any future alliance with NDA, Farooq Abdullah said his party was part of the dispensation when Atal Bihari Vajpayee was at the helm, but not now.
“Even if the BJP-led NDA comes to power after the Lok Sabha polls, National Conference will not be a part of it,” he told reporters here.
When asked that he was in the NDA government last time, he said that “the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee was different…I can go with that person but not this,” though he did not name whom he referred to as “this” person.—Agencies