For votes, Farooq begins to play ‘bechara Kashmiri’ card

SRNAGAR: Barely days after describing them as ‘maha chor’ (big thieves), National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah on Saturday termed fellow Kashmiris as oppressed and urged them to seek divine help against the “Modi storm” that threatens to sweep current rulers out in coming elections.
Abdullah made the remarks, apparently to play to the gallery as elections are round the corner, during his address to NC workers at the party headquarters here.
“Hum sab aiteqad wale hain. Allah ki tarh rujuh karo taki tum anewali tufaan se bach jaye (We all are believers. Seek refuge in Allah so that we are saved from this coming storm). Storms will come but Allah will save us all,” Abdullah said.
He said an “unfortunate wave in Kashmir changed everything otherwise Kashmiri Muslims have always been secular in their practice.”
“Kashmiri Muslims have always been secular. We were close to Kashmiri Pandits, Sikhs and Buddhists. Unfortunately a wave changed things,” he said.
He said it pained him when he moved outside to see sufferings of Muslims who are being victimized.
“Whenever I go outside I feel Muslims are being victimized. After 9/11, Muslims are being blamed for wrongdoings in the world. But we (Muslims) ourselves are trapped in problems, what can we do to others? There are problems in Syria, Egypt, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In our neighbouring country (Pakistan) bombs explode inside mosques, sectarian clashes take place there,” he said.
“The more Muslims are suppressed, the more they will rise. Pray for peace, we have seen enough bloodshed. God will take us out of these conflicts,” he said.

‘Wish Prophet was born in Kashmir’
During his one-hour address Abdullah invoked Islam and wished that Prophet Muhammad was born in Kashmir.
“God, I wish Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) would have born here. We too would have been living in peace and prosperity like the Arabs,” he said.
Abdullah said that during his childhood his mother used to tell him how a desert land (Saudi Arabia) became prosperous after the arrival of the Prophet.
“My mother used to tell me how the fortunes of desert and its dwellers were changed after the birth of Prophet Muhammad,” he said.

‘BJP eyeing Kashmir land, not its people’
Abdullah said that New Delhi trashed the Autonomy resolution without having a look into it.
“When we had passed the Autonomy resolution we sent it to Vajpayee government. He (Vajpayee) invited me. I have also sent five copies of the resolution to the then India’s Home Minister L K Advani. On the Shyama Prasad Mukherjee’s anniversary, Vajpayee told me that they were not ready to accept the Autonomy resolution,” Abdullah said.
“I asked him if he had read it, he said no,” Abdullah said.
When the Autonomy resolution was dumped by New Delhi, National Conference was in alliance with NDA-led government in Delhi which was headed by Vajpayee.
Abdullah said autonomy was the right of the people of Kashmir and he would not settle till that right is given back.
“Autonomy is our right. It is not an offence. I will challenge them and demand our right back, those rights which have they snatched from us. I will fight for our rights even from my grave. I won’t settle till then,” he said.
Abdullah also said that BJP wants to bury Article 370. “They wanted to bury Article 370 then and they want to bury it now. But they cannot bury it. There is no place on earth which can be used to bury Article 370,” he said.
Abdullah also said that New Delhi made autonomy hollow by buying some Kashmiris.
Taking a dig at BJP and its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi, Abdullah said that the party never cared for Kashmir and “instead invoked discrimination with Ladakh and Jammu regions of the state.”
“Arun Jaitley, Narendra Modi or anyone else from BJP, they never cared for Kashmir but cared only for Jammu and Ladakh. Yes, we are Muslims and we are proud of it, and it is not an offence of being a Muslim. We never betrayed our nation (Kashmir) or our religion,” said Abdullah, who is contesting from Srinagar constituency in upcoming Lok Sabha elections.
He said BJP eyes the land of Kashmir and they don’t need people of Kashmir. “But you (BJP) don’t love us, you don’t love Kashmiri people, you just love the Kashmir land. The day you start loving our people things will change for good. Try to love us,” he said.

‘Mufti Sahab don’t make a sellout’
Lambasting People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and its patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Abdullah accused the former of a sellout.
“Mufti Saeba ma kar sauda (Mufti Sahab don’t make a sellout). On one hand you talk of representing Kashmiris and Kashmiri aspirations and on the other you are open to an alliance with someone who is about to come (Modi),” he said.
He said that “everyone knows who created PDP and why now they are claiming to raise the voice for Indian Muslims in Indian Parliament.” He claimed that PDP was “created” to divide Muslim votes in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Now they say they will talk about Indian Muslims in the Parliament. Our own house is not in order. I ask them first set your own house in order,” Abdullah said, adding that all people know how craftily they divided people on the basis of rural-urban basis.
Praising his father and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah “for not merging with Union of India,” Abdullah said that despite lucrative offers from New Delhi Sheikh “remained steadfast to his commitments towards his people.”
“Sher-e-Kashmir was the only reason why J&K did not merge with India. He declined the offers,” Abdullah claimed.
“Whenever I visit foreign countries as an Indian minister,, everyone asks me about Sheikh Abdullah and about being his son.  I fought so many times with Delhi for Kashmir. I can’t narrate what all I had to bear, but J&K will continue to have the special status,” he said.
Abdullah also said that his party is facing testing time in coming elections. “Our party is facing a test.  The question is will NC remain in power. It is a test and we have to show to the world whether NC exists or not,” he said.
The senior Abdullah also heaped praises on his son and J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. He said, “Omar is honest in his words and he will witness prosperity and peace in the state which I didn’t see. What is in the heart of Omar is on his lips. Farooq didn’t see that era of prosperity of the state which Omar is going to witness.”