Budgam: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Monday said at a rally in Magam area of Budgam district that the coming by-election for two parliamentary seats in Kashmir was “a fight for survival of secularism”.
Farooq said that the NC-Congress alliance must be voted for to defeat the communal forces of the RSS that are trying to gain a foothold in Kashmir. Defeat of the ruling PDP, he said, would send a clear message that the people are against the PDP-RSS combine’s anti-Kashmir and anti-Muslim plans.
“The minorities in India are living under continuous fear and uncertainty. If the divisive forces are not stopped, the day is not far when the situation in the Valley will become grimmer,” he said.
The NC chief blamed the PDP for facilitating the BJP’s growth in the state. “For hunger of power, the PDP betrayed the mandate by associating with the RSS after seeking votes against them in the last election,” he said.
He asked people to realise the “danger of fascism hovering over the state” and to “get united to defeat it with full might”. He said the current elections involved larger issues, “especially the threat of communal forces”.
“The only achievement of the PDP is that people were deprived of offering prayers in the Jamia Masjid for 18 consecutive Fridays and even on the eve of Eid,” he said.
Urging people of central Kashmir to ensure victory of INC-NC candidate Farooq Abdullah, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha and former chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that “the secular fabric of the country as well as of the state is in great danger”.
Addressing the rally at Magam, Azad appealed to people to cast their vote in favour of Farooq without any fear. He said the time has come for people to get united and teach a lesson to the ruling dispensation for adopting anti-people policies.
“There is mass discontent among the people. People in the entire valley are living in great fear,” Azad said.
Omar Abdullah also addressed the gathering and said that J&K’s very identity, its flag and its special status, have been at stake since the day the PDP allied with the BJP. “The upcoming elections are not the usual elections where we vote on local issues and are divided on small ideological differences. This election is about the larger battle of J&K’s political survival. Our dignity and honour are at stake. The PDP-BJP alliance has translated into unimaginable suffering and humiliation for the people of the state and there is no end to systemic repression being orchestrated as per the agenda of the RSS,” Omar said.
Former PDP leader and now Congress member Tariq Ahmad Qarra explained the circumstances that forced him to part ways with the PDP last year. He denounced the PDP as an “importer of the communal and anti-Muslim RSS and BJP agenda into Kashmir.”
Addressing the gathering, Qarra lashed out at the ruling dispensation for victimising people for their political beliefs. “PDP has lost ground due to its attitude towards the people,” he said.
Addressing another gathering in Kangan, Farooq Abdullah said that the PDP had embarrassed Muslims in general and Kashmiri Muslims in particular by allying with the RSS.
“RSS represents decades of suppression of Muslims across the country and has openly advocated the abrogation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status since 1947. Today, both as a Kashmiri and as a Muslim, I am disappointed and ashamed that PDP sold its 2014 mandate and its conscience to attain political power,” Farooq said.
“Today, we all – including our brothers in Jamaat-e-Islami – have come together to fight the RSS. If we do not do so, our identity and our honour will be wiped out. I am just one person but I seek the support of all of you so that we can collectively fight the RSS,” Farooq said.
NC leader Mian Altaf asked people to vote in large numbers to ensure the victory of Farooq Abdullah. He said the elections represented a battle for justice and dignity against the forces of oppression and tyranny.
At a party convention in Khanyar in old Srinagar, NC General Secretary Ali Mohammed Sagar said, “This election is crucial for Kashmiris to defeat the treacherous PDP, which has betrayed their trust and subjected them to the worst humiliation and harassment at the hands of unbridled forces.”
He said the “nightmarish experience of the 2016 killings is haunting every self-respecting Kashmiri.”