Not ready to accept India is communal; fight for Article 370 will continue: Farooq Abdullah

Ramban/Jammu, Sep 21: National Conference president and Lok Sabha MP Farooq Abdullah has expressed hope the Supreme Court will soon hear the petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370, and also vowed to continue politically the fight to restore the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

He said the next assembly polls will provide the first opportunity to fight the battle politically for the special status of J&K under the provisions of constitution.

“We are in the Supreme Court (for the restoration of Article 370) and are hopeful that it will hear the petitions soon and we will get relief from this difficult situation,” the former chief minister said.

Abdullah was chairing a day-long convention of the party’s block workers, office-bearers and functionaries at Batote in Ramban district on Tuesday as part of efforts to sensitise them on the ongoing special summary revision of electoral rolls.

“We are not only dependent on the apex court,” he told them. “We are having a political fight without asking people to throw bricks, grenades or use guns. Our fight is a political fight and we are going to fight it politically. Obviously, the first chance we have got is the (next) Assembly election. The more we win, the more we will be able to take forward this in the Assembly.”

Referring to the independence struggle, he said the National Conference never abandoned the flag of secularism.

“In 1947, the Muslim majority Jammu and Kashmir heard the chants of Allah-u-Akbar (God is great) but we never accepted the two nation theory. Had we gone there, what would have happened to Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists (of Jammu and Kashmir). They had only option to migrate and our fight was against it.

“Today, the same fight continues. We are not ready to accept that India is communal. India has been secular and it will remain secular,” Abdullah said.

He also sought to downplay the recent controversy over school staff making students recite the famous bhajan “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram…” in a classroom in Kashmir, saying nobody loses their faith by singing bhajans or visiting a Muslim or Hindu shrine.

“I used to sing Bhajans,” he said, asking, “by singing Bhajan, have I become a Hindu? If a Hindu is visiting the Ajmer Sharif Dargah or the Nizamuddin Auliya shrine, does he become a Muslim?”

“Several of our people pay obeisance at the shrine of Mata (Vaishno Devi), do they also turn into Hindus? No, the people go there (revered places) because they feel their problems will get resolved there. Everyone belongs to Him (the almighty),” he said.

He termed “frivolous thinking” the ban on ‘Dastaar Bandi’ (turban tying ceremony) of politicians by the Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board and said “it is an honour bestowed on people which is prevalent since the Dogra rule.”

The Jammu and Kashmir Waqf Board had recently issued an order saying ‘Dastaar Bandi’ would only be done to felicitate those who have made achievements in the religious field.

“With time, such types of orders will vanish and Dastaar Bandi (ceremonies) will return and nobody is going to stop it. It is an honour and is prevalent since the Maharaja’s time,” he said, adding caps replaced turbans but elderly people still wear turbans and are honourable. (PTI)

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