Stating that "politics of hate" is the biggest threat to the country's unity, National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah has asked its propagators to stay away from Jammu and Kashmir.

He has also cautioned the people of the state against "communal polarisation" ahead of the scheduled panchayat polls."There is no threat to any religion. If there is a danger at all, it is the politics of hate, which has been serving as a shield to the communal elements," Abdullah said at a meeting of senior party leaders at the NC headquarters here yesterday.

He asked the "believers of hate politics" to keep off Jammu and Kashmir, which he described as a "shining example of amity and communal harmony".

Seeking the participation of the people in the panchayat polls, the former Jammu and Kashmir chief

minister cautioned them against the "machinations of the divisive forces, which may try to vitiate the atmosphere by engineering a communal divide".

Terming the panchayat polls crucial for strengthening democracy at the grassroot-level in the state, Abdullah exhorted the NC cadre to gear up for the "big challenge".

"Notwithstanding that the spirit of the Panchayati Raj system had been trampled by the PDP-BJP dispensation (in the state), which amended the Panchayati Raj Act, 1989, the NC believes that the panchayats are the engines for political empowerment of the people," he said.

Referring to the amendment in the statute with regard to an indirect election of a "sarpanch" (village head), Abdullah said it would weaken the system and lead to manipulations.

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