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regular-article-logo Friday, 21 June 2024

Modi government making India communal, says Farooq Abdullah

He asserts that a 'volcano' has been building up in Kashmir since the scrapping of the special status in 2019, and might one day 'explode'

Muzaffar Raina Srinagar Published 24.12.21, 02:56 AM
Farooq Abdullah.

Farooq Abdullah. File photo

How does it feel to be a Muslim in Modi’s India, interviewer Karan Thapar asks.

“It feels terrible,” the interviewee replies.

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This is Farooq Abdullah, a man who would in the past risk fellow Kashmiris’ anger to profess himself a loyal “Indian”, even walking 3km barefoot to the Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu to perform aarti.

Now, eyes welling up and voice trembling with emotion, the Srinagar MP feels no qualms telling Thapar how “communal” India is becoming.

“The question here is, India is becoming communal. It was secular. The government is making it communal. They are dividing people, (pitting) Muslims against Hindus and against other religions,” the five-time chief minister and National Conference leader tells Thapar in an interview for The Wire.

Voice rising, Farooq adds: “But that Muslim who has faith in Allah is not afraid. I am not afraid because I know death is not in their hands.”

He appears to compare the Narendra Modi government with a tyrannical Pharaoh and suggests that God would send another Moses to save India’s Muslims, as He once did for the Israelites. His comments are punctuated with long pauses as he tries to stop himself from breaking down.

“I hold Allah’s rope strongly (pause). He will take us out of this tragedy. Moses will be born,” he says.

“There was Pharaoh, who called himself God, built his own temples… tortured (the children of Israel) the way Muslims are being tortured today….

“He (God) said, ‘Moses take your people away…’… and the sea divided, and the Pharaoh and all his army (drowned).”

Thapar: “But, but….”

(Farooq continues speaking.)

Thapar: “God gave Moses the vision to take the people to another country….”

“He (God) will create another Moses, you be sure about it,” Farooq declares.

At one point, he pleads with the Opposition to join hands and fight the BJP.

He claims “ego” is dividing parties and says that Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee felt hurt when the Congress desisted from helping her although she was fighting “communal forces”.

“(But) I tell them, ‘Come, forgive and forget and save India, the people of this nation, the Muslims, Hindus, the Christians, the Sikhs, the Jains, the Zoroastrians, everyone who lives in (this) country’. Let us work for them. Hell with my party or any other party, let us get together,” Farooq says.

“How long are we going to suffer and see people suffer — how long? They (people) have not got things to eat…. It is not God who is in danger.... It is the people of this nation who are in danger.”

Farooq’s interview comes days after the Delimitation Commission gave six additional Assembly seats to Hindu-majority Jammu and just one to the Muslim-majority Valley — a move seen as buttressing the efforts to have a Hindu chief minister in Jammu and Kashmir.

Farooq asserts that a “volcano” has been building up in Kashmir since the scrapping of the special status in 2019, and might one day “explode”.

“They (Kashmiris) feel whatever is happening is pushing them away from the nation. The nation does not see their pain, (does) not see their tragedies. That is hurting them the most,” he says.

“A volcano is getting ready. Remember one thing: it is not Pakistanis who are coming to fight for us. It is young people who are standing for themselves.”

He adds: “They know they are going to die… but they still stand. That is because they have no hope, no hope at all, none whatsoever. If people cannot see it, I am sorry, one day it will explode, explode in a very bad way. Let us not blame other countries (then).”

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