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Noida: Elections divide us. It’s time to unite: Farooq Abdullah

Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir narrates anecdotes from his own life on being targeted for celebrating festivals of other religions; recounts time when he spoke with Narendra Modi, then Gujarat CM, about religious inclusivity

noida Updated: Mar 09, 2018 23:50 IST
Vaibhav Jha
Vaibhav Jha
Hindustan Times
Noida news,Farooq Abdullah,former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir
Srinagar MP and former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah was in Noida on Friday to attend a mock parliament session organised by students of Amity University in Sector 125.(Sunil Ghosh /HT Photo)

Cautioning the youth on perils of communal politics, MP and former CM of Jammu and Kashmir Farooq Abdullah said elections in India have divided communities and it’s time for the youth to unite.

The sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar was in Noida on Friday evening to attend a mock parliamentary session organised by students of Amity University at Sector 125.

“Each election has divided us and never united us. Can Allah or Prophet Mohammed or Ram ever be in danger? Then why do politicians say that religion or God is in danger whenever elections approach? Time has come for the youth to shun this communal politics and rise above minor differences to build a new India,” Abdullah said.

Abdullah narrated anecdotes from his own life when he was targeted for celebrating festivals of other religions.

“I was welcomed at today’s event with a teeka (vermilion mark) on my forehead. This will make some people back in Kashmir say that Farooq is now a Hindu. They will click a picture of mine and exhibit it in the Valley, but I am not scared of them. I was criticised by these people who said that I sing bhajans (devotional Hindu songs). I would like to ask them that don’t Hindus go to the dargah (mosque)? Each and every faith teaches us to love humans and do good,” he said, adding that he had also shared this advice with prime minister Narendra Modi when he was the Gujarat chief minister.

“When I was the minister for new and renewable energy, I had gone to Gujarat where I met Narendra Modi. I told him that I dream of an India where I can see my Allah in your eyes and you can see your bhagwan in my eyes. This mutual respect for each other’s faith is what we all seek,” Abdullah said, suggesting that dialogue should be the way forward.

“There are so many issues in India that need immediate attention and yet, they are not discussed in our parliament. All we have is noise in the parliament these days. There is not a single issue which cannot be solved through dialogue,” he said.

The mock parliament session was also attended by Himanchal Pradesh governor Acharya Dev Vrat, who also addressed the students and told them to follow the path of dharma (duty).

“Dharma is truth and its principles have universal application. Every faith has similar principles of virtue,” Vrat said.

First Published: Mar 09, 2018 23:50 IST