Srinagar: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday alleged that the claims of normalcy in Kashmir made by the central and state governments were “contrary" to the ground situation in the region.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister also claimed that there was a “growing sense of alienation" among the people, especially the youth. “Those claiming things have improved in Kashmir after the mayhem, bloodshed and misery of 2016, are contradicting the ground reality in an effort to escape their own culpability and responsibility.

“The fact remains that our youth today are more isolated and alienated than ever before, and feel hopeless and dismayed," he said at a public meeting in Khan Sahib assembly constituency’s Hardpanzoo area in Budgam district. The NC president claimed that the youth were “disillusioned and disenchanted" by the system as several initiatives were left mid-way. “The lack of political will to engage with the aspirations of the people of Kashmir with a sense of seriousness and honesty has created an enormous trust deficit. This has been further increased by recent betrayals and U- turns," he said.

The Srinagar MP said that India and Pakistan initiate dialogue on outstanding issues, especially on that of Kashmir, in a sincere effort to usher the sub-continent into a corrective era of stability, mutual cooperation and harmony. “Both India and Pakistan are nuclear powers and should acknowledge the fact that a nuclear war is out of question and hence, engagement and innovative conflict resolution is the only option.

“Those advocating violence and war are living in a fool’s paradise and their rhetoric is aimed at their own local constituencies. There is no other alternative but to talk and take into account the practical limitations of both sides," he said. “Conflicts are resolved with innovation and imagination, not by shrill slogans and stentorian and moralistic press statements," the NC leader said.

The former chief minister said that the conflict has inflicted enormous human, economic and political costs on the people of Kashmir, and they deserve a resolution now. “We cannot sacrifice the dreams and aspirations of another generation in Kashmir. The time has come for India and Pakistan to understand that they “owe it to the people of Jammu and Kashmir" to resolve this issue once for all, he said.

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