Farooq Abdullah hits back at Geelani

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Farooq Abdullah
New Delhi/Srinagar, Dec 7: Farooq Abdullah and Syed Ali Shah Ali Geelani were on Wednesday engaged in a war of words with the Union Minister attacking the separatist leader for opposing reopening of cinemas in Kashmir and pitching for a ban on liquor.

"Mr Geelani must know it is a secular state. It is not an Islamic state. It is a liberal democratic country," Abdullah said after Geelani slammed him for advocating reopening of cinema halls and liquor shops in Kashmir, saying there was no place for such "immoral things" in the Valley.

The National Conference leader said he would continue to advocate development of necessary infrastructure for the growth of tourism in Jammu and Kashmir The NC leader said if Kashmir wants to grow, the state must develop its infrastructure.

"...if Kashmir wants to grow as far as tourism is concerned, all those things that are necessary for getting more tourists to come, we must grow our infrastructure in our state.... be it cinema or other things," the New and Renewable Energy Minister told reporters outside Parliament House.

Cinema halls are closed in the state since 1990 following the outbreak of militancy.

"...and if he (Gilani) thinks that his fatwa is going to do anything to me, it has never done anything to me.... I will continue to say what is right for promoting tourism in our state and let me make it clear to him that we live in a country where all religions are equal. He must realise this," Abdullah said.

Demanding a complete ban on alcohol in Kashmir, Geelani today called for peaceful protests in the Valley on Friday.

Taking a dig at Geelani, J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah wondered how many members of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC), which includes Pakistan, allow cinemas to function in their countries.

"I'd be interested to know how many OIC member countries (including Pakistan & Bangladesh) allow cinemas to function in their countries," he said on microblogging site Twitter.

He also asked whether Geelani would now be demanding a ban on cable TV.

"Given that cable TV providers show all the movies that would come to cinemas & some that don't ;-) will Geelani ask us to ban cable now?." Abdullah tweeted.

PTI

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