Former Union Minister and National Conference patron Farooq Abdullah said India will not be able to keep Kashmir if the forces who see Muslims of the country with suspicion and pit the minority community against the majority are not reined in.
“A storm is brewing in India which is ringing alarm bells and, if we do not understand this, if we continue fighting Hindus with Muslims, then I am telling them from here that they (Centre) cannot keep Kashmir. This is the truth even if you do not like it,” Abdullah said addressing National Conference workers on the first death anniversary of the party’s former general secretary Sheikh Nazir. Abdullah said Muslims were not the enemies of the country but were still seen with suspicion.
“Today, a Muslim is seen with suspicious eyes. Is a Muslim not Indian? Has he not sacrificed anything? Have you forgotten Brigadier Usman (the highest ranking officer of Indian Army killed in the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947)? He sacrificed his life for saving the country.
“Have you forgotten those soldiers who were Muslims and fought for the nation and are fighting even today? Muslim is not the enemy of India. Control these elements who label Muslims as enemies,” he said.
Abdullah said India lives in the hearts of Muslims. “For god’s sake, do not take this country in that direction where we can place Hindus and Muslims separately. This is not the India Mahatma Gandhi, (Maulana Abul Kalam) Azad, Sher-e-Kashmir (Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah), Jawaharlal Nehru and others built,” he said, adding there is no difference between “our God and yours.
“If there was any difference, my blood would not have been red but green and yours saffron and Christians of some other colour…God has created us all alike. Try to mend differences and unite the hearts,” Abdullah, a former chief minister and Union Minister said.
He said the dialogue process between India and Pakistan has to be taken forward irrespective of the incidents like Mumbai and Pathankot. “Peace can be established if you win peoples’ hearts and that can happen when you address the basic issues here along with firmly holding the hand of friendship (with Pakistan).
“Pathankot and Mumbai (attacks) will continue to happen because some people want India and Pakistan to remain far from each other and fight with each other. We have to fight those powers and that will happen only through the process of dialogue,” he said. He favoured an open border between the two countries for greater people-to-people contact.
The former chief minister reiterated that this part of Kashmir will continue to be with India, while the other part across the Line of Control (LoC) will remain with Pakistan.
“I am telling you honesty that we have to live with India only. Keep this in mind that the other part will live with Pakistan…But our demand is that our autonomy be restored. The honour which you (Centre) took away should be restored,” he said.