The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Farooq blasts Sangh, US

New Delhi, Oct. 25: Taking a dig at the NDA government, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah today told the Sangh parivar that it did not enjoy a copyright over Ram and criticised the government for not being able to take “decisions”.

Speaking at an NDA rally to commemorate the completion of three years of the BJP-led government here, Abdullah said the Muslims in India were Indian Muslims and not Pakistani, Chinese or Japanese.

Drawing loud cheers from the audience, he said: “No one has a copyright over Lord Ram or Allah. Ram belongs to Muslims as much as to Hindus.”

Accusing the US of dictating terms to India, Abdullah asked the Vajpayee-led government not to succumb to Washington’s pressures and take “tough decisions” in national interest. “Whatever decisions you take, take bold decisions, don’t waver,” he said.

“Some Muslims are defaming Islam under the guise of jihad. Killing of innocent people is not jihad. Hindus and Muslims should close their ranks as our neighbour is trying to take advantage of the same,” he said.

“I am not a contractor of Allah, so are you not of Ram. The day you see Ram in my eyes and the day I see Allah in your eyes, that day will strengthen India,” the National Conference leader said, with a caution that “our neighbour is watching our weaknesses”.

“America is not our god that it will say do this or that. Why should we do it' Are we slaves' Those days are gone,” thundered Abdullah.

He added that New Delhi “cannot and should not” succumb to US pressures and should take decisions that will benefit India. “The government should not talk to Pakistan till it stops terrorism permanently.”

The National Conference leader emphasised that Delhi should stick to its stand unlike in the past when Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf was invited to India.

“I know difficulties will come. But if we do not face these, we cannot do anything for India,” Abdullah said.

Referring to the 23-party NDA, he said it was not easy to run coalition governments when “some say do this and some say do that”.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said no party or group of parties could form a government in the state without the support of the National Conference.

“People are watching the fun as political parties are trying to cobble a government in Jammu and Kashmir,” he said.

Abdullah regretted his decision to quit politics, saying once a person was in, it would be difficult to get out of it. “Once you jump into it (politics), you cannot escape it. My father had taught me that but I was a stupid (bewakoof) son and did not listen to him and resigned from politics,” he said.

He indicated that he would like to shift to national politics, saying it was time for him to come to the “larger screen” of the country.

“I think I should not confine myself to the state and come to the larger screen. All of us have to strengthen India and only then Jammu and Kashmir can become strong. I am now thinking in that direction,” the National Conference leader said.

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