SRINAGAR: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Monday hit back at BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi for his remarks that Kashmir Pandits were forced out from the Valley, saying the Pandits’ exodus took place under Jagmohan who was appointed J&K Governor by the government supported by BJP.
“Nobody can deny that KPs left Kashmir and nobody can even deny that Kashmiri Muslims are sad about their departure from Kashmir. But your (Modi’s) habit is that you present the things in different manner and that too by a person who is aspiring to the Prime Minister of the country. This is very dangerous thing,” Omar told reporters at a press conference at his Gupkar residence.
Omar said why and when KPs left Kashmir, Modi needs a lecture about it. “Kashmiri Pandits didn’t leave when Farooq Abdullah was heading this state. KPs left when V P Singh was Prime Minister and when Mufti Sayeed was Home Minister of India,” Omar said. “Same V P Singh whom BJP supported as Prime Minister, and the same Mufti who appointed Jagmohan as a Governor of the state. And everyone knows he (Jagmohan) was holding a ministerial berth in Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet. And if I am not wrong, Jagmohan is still with BJP.”
“He (Modi) has not only targeted Farooq Abdullah, but he is also projecting that Kashmiris are the only people who are communal and if anyone needs to learn secularism then they are Kashmiris,” Omar said.
Omar was responding to Modi’s remarks that the biggest blow to secularism in India was delivered in Kashmir from where “Kashmiri Pandits were forced out due to their religion.”
In his response to Sunday’s remarks of Farooq Abdullah that Kashmir will secede if India becomes communal, Modi had said that Abdullah had no moral right to preach against communalism as policies of his father Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, him, and his son Omar were responsible for communalizing the state politics.
“Neither my family nor my people need certificate of secularism from Modi. And God forbid, if my people get certificate of secularism from you then I would resign from politics,” Omar said.
He said Modi has forgotten that he was delivering secularism lectures to those people who taught the lesson of secularism in 1947 when whole subcontinent was burning in the flames of communalism.
“When whole country was burning, when Hindu and Muslims were killing each other, Jammu and Kashmir, especially Kashmir valley, was the only place where Mahatma Gandhi saw a ray of hope. Today you are giving us lectures on secularism. Learn secularism from us. We have given the slogan of brotherhood between Hindu, Muslim and Sikh and still adhere to it,” Omar said.
He said the living example and proof of secularism in Kashmir is when Kashmiri Muslims carry Hindu pilgrims on their shoulders in the Amaranth Yatra.
“This (Amaranth Yatra) is the proof of our secularism and we don’t need lecture from you on it. It doesn’t suit here,” he said.
He said Kashmiri Pandits strike Modi’s mind for political gains and not on humanitarian grounds.
“When you did a speech in Jammu why didn’t you speak about Kashmiri Pandits? You spoke about all the communities of the state but remained silent about them,” Omar said.
Omar said he is not the one who has sought to use the pain of KPs for political purposes, and he doesn’t see the conspiracies at everything.
“It is Modi who has personally blamed Farooq Abdullah for the exodus of the KPs. My only effort has been to correct the gap in the knowledge of Modi since he is aspiring to be the Prime Minister of this country. I am only stating facts that the exodus of the KP took place when Jagmohan was Governor of the state and Mufti Sayeed was Home Minister of India,” Omar said.
He also said that Modi doesn’t have guts to come to Kashmir and seek votes from them because there is no place for him in their hearts.
“Modi Sahab, you don’t have guts to come to Kashmir,” he said. “You want to become Prime Minister of India but you won’t come to Kashmir and ask votes from Kashmiris.”
He said Modi would go to Jammu and Ladakh but will not come Kashmir because “he has not guts to visit the Valley.”
“You won’t come here because the ideas you have about Kashmir and the way you have tried to disrespect the people, I don’t think you don’t have any place in the hearts of people here,” he said.
He said he must thank Modi on his father’s behalf that they didn’t get the certificate for being secularism from him otherwise they would have resigned from politics.
On a question about Farooq’s comments that Kashmir will secede if India becomes communal, Abdullah said there was nothing wrong in it as Kashmir has never been communal.
“Why does Modi take India to the communal extremes that have been known Gujarat through?” Omar asked. He said Kashmir is not a communal state and it has always taught tolerance. “It has never been a communal state. Kashmiri has taught tolerance to people. Kashmir has taught Kashmiriyat to people when people had forgotten what tolerance was all about. When we talk about Kashmiriyat these are not just words but our emotions that runs in our veins. We gave proof of Kashmiriyat when no one was ready to talk about it,” he said.
“As far as becoming Modi as PM, Farooq Abdullah never said that if he becomes PM then Kashmir will cease to be part of India. Farooq Abdullah said lot of things. Farooq Abdullah is not a stupid. He has said Kashmir will not be a part of communal India and I don’t think anything wrong in it,” he said.
Omar said Modi is exposing his ignorance when he doesn’t know things well about Kashmir.
“He says J&K has not Right to Information Act, of course we have. The people of Jammu and Kashmir have right to education long before it become the right in the rest of the country,” he said.
“The problem is that he doesn’t have guts to come to Kashmir. He has three candidates in the Valley, but he won’t come and campaign for them in the Valley. Obviously he doesn’t know what the hell is happening. How will he come?” Omar added.