Srinagar: Giving autonomy to both parts of the divided Jammu and Kashmir is the only way to resolve the Kashmir dispute, former Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah said on Monday.
During a tour of Rajouri district, the National Conference leader told party activists at Budhal: “Autonomy to both sides of Jammu and Kashmir is the only viable and realistic solution to the nearly seven-decade-old problem that has cast dark shadows over the generations.
“We owe peace and dignified life to posterity. And that can be achieved only by converting the present dividing line between the two neighbouring countries into a line of peace,” he added.
Pakistan controls the northern third of Jammu and Kashmir. The southern two-third of the state is held by India.
Abdullah is on a two-day visit to Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region.
He said the hostilities of 70 years had retarded growth on both sides of the Line of Control and the time had come for India and Pakistan to take a bold initiative by calling a spade a spade.
He referred to the wars of the past and continued border skirmishes, saying these had only added to the miseries of the people of Kashmir.
“The soft borders would open up vistas of economic opportunities besides enabling hassle free exchange of people, which in turn will be a major dividend to peace and tranquillity in the region,” he said.
Abdullah hoped that “good sense will prevail upon all the stakeholders”.
He said denial of autonomy had brought Jammu and Kashmir to the present morass, which if ignored any further could prove detrimental to the larger interests of the state.
Abdullah also spoke about alleged divisive policies being pursued by the Narendra Modi government and said politics of hate and intolerance were against the very idea of India.
He said India belonged to people of different faiths and they cannot be brought into confrontationist situations for petty politics.