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'National Conference won't quit govt over Afzal hanging'

February 11, 2013 20:56 IST

Union Minister and National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today ruled out quitting the United Progressive Alliance government at the Centre over hanging of Afzal Guru, an issue on which Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had made some strong statements.

"Why should we leave the government?... We have got a job to do. You don't leave.... I have no such idea," Abdullah said at a function.

Abdullah was asked whether the National Conference will quit the UPA government over the Afzal issue as his son J-K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had on Sunday slammed the execution of the Parliament attack convict saying it would reinforce a sense of alienation and injustice among generation of youth in the Valley.

Omar had said it will have to be proved to Kashmiris and to the world that the execution of Afzal Guru is not a "selective" one.

"I am Farooq Abdullah. As far as I am concerned the Supreme Court and the high court passed the judgement. Mercy petition filed by him to the President has been rejected. So, the matter is over," he said to persistent queries on the issue.

Asked if he thought the hanging of Guru would accelerate the separatist movement as it happened in the past after the execution of Maqbool Butt, Abdullah shot back: "you should ask this question to the chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, who is there in the state. He knows what is the situation there. I am in Delhi."

Bhat, a Kashmiri separatist leader, was hanged in Tihar jail in 1984 for the murder of Indian diplomat Ravindra Mhatre in the UK.

Abdullah said he felt sad that the family of Afzal Guru did not get a chance to meet him before he was hanged but the matter of execution "is over" and appealed to the media not to play up sentiments.

"I too feel sad that his family could not meet him and say goodbye.. Pity... That we talk in different terms...Okay. But do not play it up....Don't create tragedies for the future, " Abdullah said at a function.

"The high Court and the Supreme Court passed the judgement and his appeal to the President of India was turned down. He was hanged," he said in his speech.

"How many of us would have died if his plan succeeded as they entered Parliament and shot dead the entire Indian democracy," he said.

Appealing to the media, the Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy said "... Do not play for the sake of highest ratings...otherwise you all will perish one by one."

Recalling the sacrifices made by freedom fighters, he said it was "vitally important that we maintain the freedom of the nation called India."

"There are people who want to try and divide the country. But we have to stand united together from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Maharashtra to Tripura. As a strong India you can fight them in your home, in your state and in the nation," he said.

"If this nation wants to survive then stand together. (Otherwise) All of you will perish one by one. We have enemies everywhere. We have enemies within. I am more afraid of them (enemies within) than the enemies of us. You can see them and fight them. But the enemies inside we cannot see," the National Conference supremo said in an emotional speech.

"My appeal to media, which is free in the country...please do not play with the sentiments of the people. Do not create tragedies. We have gone through tragedies. There were terrible tragedies in my state. We are still not coming out of them," he said.

Abdullah, however, said if the people of the country stood together they could fight and win the battle and keep Indian democracy stronger to fulfill the vision of the founding fathers.

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