Valley’s youth being pushed to pick up arms again, says Omar Abdullah

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on Friday claimed that the recent “missteps” of the Centre have pushed the Valley’s youth to pick up arms again.

“In 2012, 2013, and 2014, there was barely any youth resorting to arms. The number of men, who joined the militancy over a period of 12-13 years, is now being matched in a matter of months these days,” the former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir said at a public gathering here on Friday.

He added the number of youth joining militancy in one year earlier is similar to those joining in a month now.

“They said that by removing Articles 370 and 35A, people, who were distraught with the Indian administration, would completely be assimilated into the rest of the country. But I’d like to say with conviction that after this, these people are even more alienated than before,” Abdullah said.

He went on to ask about the visible development of the Union territory. “Where are development works? One year, three months is long enough to get started on such projects. We’d always say don’t be under a misconception that removing Articles 370 and 35A will solve all problems. It is the biggest misstep for J&K. We’re not safe on our own land,” he added.

Abdullah’s father Farooq Abdullah said if Jammu and Kashmir wanted to go to Pakistan, they would have done so in 1947. “No one could have stopped it. But our nation is Mahatma Gandhi’s India and not the BJP’s,” said the National Conference veteran.

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