Ghulam Nabi Azad, who held a series of public meetings in Jammu and Kashmir before the launch of his party today, made an appeal to terrorists asking them to give up arms as it only brings destruction and miseries to people.
A terrorist propaganda arm has issued death threat against Azad and termed him a traitor who is acting on the behest of BJP.
Addressing a rally in Anantnag, South Kashmir, the area that is seeing frequent encounters and home to most of the local terror recruits, Azad said gun culture has harmed generations and he does not want to see more youngsters die in Kashmir valley.
“My request to those who have picked up the gun, mind you, this gun is not a solution. Gun only brings destruction and miseries,” said Azad.
There was an enthusiastic crowd at Dal Banglow lawns at Anantnag, who pledged support to Azad’s new political venture.
Azad resigned from the Congress last month. He has held a series of meetings in Jammu and Kashmir before forming his own party, which is expected to be announced in the next one week.
Blaming Pakistan for terrorism in Jammu and Kashmir, Azad said violence has left thousands of women as widows and lakhs of children as orphans in Kashmir valley.
“I don’t want more bloodshed and more dead bodies of young people. A defeatist country that couldn’t set its own house in order is hell bent on causing destruction of our state and country,” Azad told the gathering.
The former Congress leader said he is not like those leaders who exploit religious sentiments to win elections. “I will not deceive people though emotional and false slogans,” he said.
Azad said a terrorist group has issued death threats against him but he will not be deterred to pursue the path of peace.
But even before the formal announcement of his new party, the leader is facing a pushback on the issue of Article 370. Azad said his focus is restoration of statehood, protection of jobs and land rights for residents of Jammu and Kashmir.
“I have two ways to win elections and become a big leader. One is to tell you that Kashmir will get freedom. No, it can’t get. Did you get it in last 75 years?” he asked.
“I can promise autonomy; many elections have been fought on it. I can also talk about self-rule, some elections have also been fought on this slogan. These are tried and tested slogans. Should I raise such slogans?” he said.
He said such slogans will only harm people. “A foolhardy who smashes his head with mountain will end up breaking his own head, not the mountain,” he said.
Regional parties have opposed Azad’s remarks on Article 370. PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti has accused him of snatching hope from the people.
With inputs from NDTV