Kashmiri Pandits being used as vote bank by BJP: Farooq Abdullah
Jammu: National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Friday accused the BJP of using Kashmiri Pandits as vote bank and said the community is still waiting for their return and rehabilitation in the valley.
Abdullah also said that the real development in Jammu and Kashmir would come when there will be a people’s government.
“For 28 years, they are saying that Kashmiri Pandits will be taken back to their homes in the valley. They are in power for more than five years but they are still waiting for the day of their return,” Abdullah said addressing his party workers at a jam-packed Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan here.
He accused the BJP of spreading hatred among communities and asked “how long will you use them as vote bank”.
“You have always used them,” Abdullah, who arrived in Jammu for the first time since the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the erstwhile state into union territories in August last year, said.
“People are the real fountain of power. When there will be elections, bring forth the people who can help the masses and are not self-centric,” he said, adding “the real development will come to J-K when there will be people’s government and all rights of the people restored.”
Asserting that the National Conference is not “anti-national”, he said those who are hurling such wild allegations should check their vision.
“We are not the ones whom you could buy or make them to tear apart their clothes,” he said, referring to a BJP leader who tore his shirt to claim that he is a nationalist to the core.
“How many more you will buy (in J&K). I know there are some elements in NC as well. I have seen a lot (in politics) and the day is not far when another group will come and they will buy you as well,” he said.
He asked the party workers to remain steadfast and united to thwart such conspiracies.
“We have to remain cautious as they are trying to divide us on the basis of religion and region…. This nation is strong as people from different backgrounds, regions, climates and languages are one. A Madrassi, a Bengali, a Maratha who are not habitual to below 30 degrees Celsius is guarding Ladakh sector in minus 30 degrees Celsius,” he said, adding “we are together and one because of our nation”.
He said the BJP cannot be “my master and I am not afraid of them.”
Asking his party workers to be patient in the face of abuse by opponents, he said they can burn his effigy and abuse him because it is a weapon of the weak and the strong replies with patience and a smile.
“As long as your party is strong, nobody can force you down,” he said, asking people not to worry though there will be attempts to create “confusion and divide” them.
“Those who are accusing us of being Pakistanis are in reality the ones who are supporting Pakistan. If something wrong happen, they would be the first to chant Pakistani slogans,” he said.
He said National Conference workers do not tear clothes to demonstrate nationalism.
Abdullah also appealed to the people of Jammu not to burst firecrackers on Diwali festival to reduce air pollution amid the COVID-19 pandemic.