STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Monday said he does not have time to campaign for the Trinamool Congress in the upcoming West Bengal assembly elections.He also asserted that India should abide by the United Nations charter on refugees in dealing with the Rohingya crisis.“I do not have time for campaigning,” Abdullah told reporters when asked if he would join West Bengal chief minister and TMC supremo Mamata Banerjee during the campaigning for the upcoming state polls.Responding to another question about a major drive launched by the government against illegally settled Rohingya Muslims in Jammu, the NC leader underlined, “We know the situation in their land… India is a signatory to the UN charter on refugees and we should abide by it and work on humanitarian grounds”.The Jammu and Kashmir administration had on Saturday sent 168 Rohingyas to a jail in Kathua district after they were found living illegally in Jammu city during a verification drive.Speaking at another function at his party headquarters to mark the International Women’s Day, Abdullah said nobody can come to the country without the approval of the Government of India.“Nobody can settle here without the Government of India’s permission,” he said, urging party workers to remain cautious against any false propaganda on the issue.His remarks come in the backdrop of the BJP accusing the National Conference (NC) and the Congress of settling foreign refugees, including Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals, in Jammu city.The Rohingyas are a Bengali-dialect speaking Muslim minority in Myanmar. Following persecution in their country, many of them entered India illegally through Bangladesh and took shelter in Jammu and other parts of the country.Many political parties and social organisations in Jammu have urged the Centre to take immediate steps for the deportation of Rohingyas and Bangladeshi nationals, alleging that their presence is a “conspiracy to alter the demographic character” in the region and a “threat to peace”.More than 13,700 foreigners, including Rohingya Muslims and Bangladeshi nationals, are settled in Jammu and Samba districts of Jammu and Kashmir, where their population has increased by over 6,000 between 2008 and 2016, according to government data.Meanwhile, a day after the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit adopted a resolution to form the next government in the Union Territory, Farooq Abdullah pooh-poohed the resolve and said “I will see how it is going to happen”.He also criticised the BJP for allegedly dubbing him and other leaders as “Pakistani” during election time and urged the people to stay away from the “politics of religion and hatred”.“They (BJP) are making noises that we are coming (to power). They will never come,” the former chief minister said addressing a function to mark the International Women’s Day at the NC headquarters here.At a two-day working committee meeting at Katra in Reasi district, the BJP’s Jammu and Kashmir unit adopted a resolution on Sunday to form the next government in the union territory of its own whenever the Assembly elections are held.“They say we will form the (next) government. I will see how it is going to happen. Will they come from the sky? We are standing in their way and how you will remove us. The National Conference has a history of sacrifice and lives in the hearts of the people,” Abdullah said. Without identifying anyone but apparently referring to the BJP, he said “they are creating hatred” among the people to win the elections. “When the elections come, we are dubbed as Pakistanis despite the fact that we have spent ourselves to keep the Indian flag high and thousands of our workers and leaders have sacrificed their lives. However, when the elections are over, we become Indians…I am surprised,” he said.Advising the party workers to keep away from the politics of hatred and religion, he said all religions are equal and no religion is bad. “It is a man who is bad and not the religion. Had we known our religion in real sense, we would not criticise any other religion…We have to teach our children the right knowledge of the religion,” he said. He asked the National Conference (NC) workers to identify and reach out to the women who have the urge to serve the society as “we have to think how we can build our future and make J&K a prosperous state.”“You have to speak to the people and educate them about the false propaganda. Tomorrow they will come chanting ‘Har Har Mahadev’ and you line up and vote for them without taking into consideration what they have been doing.“We forewarned you about the happenings but nobody paid any heed at that time. This is just a beginning, you will see what is going to happen next…the farmers are on the roads, prices have skyrocketed, unemployment is on the rise. they have ruined everything,” he said. Abdullah asked District Development Council (DDC) members, especially women, to work with the administration for the benefit of all.
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