They are sacrificing lives so that a solution can be found to Kashmir issue.
Demanding apology from former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Thursday said the former is backing stone pelters in the Valley, whom he used to call traitors during his regime.
In the Bandipore encounter, three soldiers and one militant were killed in Kashmir along with six security personnel and a civilian who were injured in the gun battle that took place in the month of February. "They (stone pelters) will risk starvation, but will throw stones for the nation that's what we need to understand", Farooq Abdullah told the party workers in Srinagar. "They are not sacrificing lives for tourism", he said while addressing an election meeting here.
The byelections to Srinagar and Anantnag Lok Sabha constituencies are to be held on April 9 and April 12, respectively.
Abdullah said the youth throwing stones had nothing to do with tourism, even though it remains the lifeline and primary source of income for Kashmir."I want to tell him (Modi) from this stage that tourism is our life and there is no doubt about it".
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The NC leader was reacting to Prime Minister Narendra 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.
There have been instances of these stone-pelters getting killed because they came in the middle of an anti-terror operation. "We (Muslims) have never raised fingers over their religion (Hindu)".
Meanwhile, Abdullah welcomed U.S. offer of mediation in resolving the issue of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.
In occupied Kashmir, former puppet Chief Minister and pro-India National Conference President, Farooq Abdullah has urged the United States to mediate between Pakistan and India to resolve the Kashmir dispute.