National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Saturday said if the country wants to come out of the atmosphere where attacks are happening on the people from minority communities, then “we have to respect every citizen and their religion as well”.
“No Muslim has ever told any Hindu or Christian to change the way they practice their religion or change their food habits or has stopped them from visiting their religious places. But, when they tell us not to offer prayers in a particular way or stop ‘Azaan’ (call for prayers), they want to change Gandhi’s India,” Abdullah said.
Abdullah said every religion has to be respected and people have to be given the rights as enshrined in the Constitution.
He was addressing party workers at a function in Srinagar to mark the 36th death anniversary of his father and party founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah.
The former J&K CM accused “agencies” of spreading rumours about danger to Kashmiri Pandits living in the valley.
“I want to tell the NC workers that a new danger is there. There are rumours are being floated and I think agencies are doing it like it was done during (former governor) Jagmohan’s time, that Kashmiri pandits are in danger and they should be cautious. This is being done to spread fear in the country so that there are clashes between Muslims and Hindus.
“I want to tell not only the workers of NC, but the people of Kashmir, that pandits are our brothers and it is our duty to safeguard them. Make sure no Hindu feels unsafe here. Every Kashmiri whether people from Hurriyat (Conference), NC, Congress or PDP – is duty bound to safeguard them,” he said.
Abdullah also threatened to boycott the assembly and parliamentary polls too if the Centre does not take effective steps for protection of Article 35-A, days after the NC announced its decision to not participate in the panchayat and urban local bodies (ULB) elections.