Three days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi told the youth of Kashmir Valley to choose between tourism and terrorism, National Conference president and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday said that those who pelt stones are just fighting for the nation.

“If he (stone pelting youth) is giving up his life, he is not doing it for tourism. He is giving his life so that the destiny of this nation is decided which should be acceptable to the people of this place. This needs to be understood,” Abdullah said at an election meeting in Sonawar constituency here.

The former chief minister was reacting to Modi’s statement on April 2 at the inauguration of Chenani-Nashri tunnel that the youth of Kashmir need to choose between tourism and terrorism.

“Recently the tunnel was opened. He (the Prime Minister) said the youth here should think whether they want tourism or terrorism. I want to tell Modi sahib tourism is our lifeline, there is no doubt about it.”

“But he is a stone pelter. He has nothing to do with tourism. He will starve to death but he is pelting stones for his nation and there is a need to understand this,” Abdullah said.

He further said if India and Pakistan cannot resolve their issues, the US should come forward and facilitate as the third party to resolve issues between the two countries.

The NC president said it is not a fight between parties like PDP and NC, it is a fight to defeat communal forces and to protect secularism.

Notably, India has snubbed the US’ offer to help de-escalate tensions with Pakistan, saying that its position on bilateral redressal of all issues between the two neighbours has not changed.

US Ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, had on Monday made the offer to mediate in facilitating talks between the two neighbours.

“It’s absolutely right that this administration is concerned about the relationship between India and Pakistan and very much wants to see how we de-escalate any sort of conflict going forward,” Indian-origin Haley said while addressing a news conference in New York.

Haley also hinted that the Trump administration would participate in the talks aimed at resolving differences between the two neighbours.

Abdullah is contesting the by-election to Srinagar Lok Sabha seat as the joint candidate of opposition National Conference and Congress.

The polling in the constituency will be held on April 9.

Kashmir STORE