Updated: August 22, 2018 8:47:36 pm
Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah was heckled during Eid prayers at the 17th century Hazratbal mosque in Srinagar on Wednesday. Dozens of youth also showed shoes and disrupted the congregation, forcing the former leader to leave the prayer ground.
The people were reportedly angry with Abdullah for chanting “Bharat Mata ki Jai” and “Jai Hind” when he was paying tribute to former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee during the all-party prayer meeting on Monday. Even before the imam leading the congregational prayers could begin the sermon at the Hazratbal shrine, Abdullah was heckled as people shouted slogans of “Farooq Abdullah go back” and “Hum kya chahte, azaadi” at the mosque.
When a section of youths tried to approach Abdullah, who was sitting on a chair in the front row because of his ill-health, some people joined hands to make a human chain to prevent them from doing so.
Playing down the incident, Abdullah said the slogans were raised by his “own people” who were misguided. “Some people were agitated but that does not mean I will escape. I have a task of keeping everyone united,” PTI quoted Abdullah as saying. Abdullah wondered why the issue was being blown out of proportion by a section of the media. “A politician, at times, has to face people’s anger. I only hope these misguided youths are counselled properly,” he said.
Later in the day, Abdullah said he was not a person to be cowed down. “Agar yeh samajhte hai ki ise azadi aayegi toh mein inko kehna chahta hun ki pehle begaari,beemari aur bhookmari se azadi pao (If the people want freedom, they should first get freedom from bonded labour, illness and shortage of food),” ANI quoted Abdullah as saying.
The Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar said the time was right to have a peaceful dialogue between India and Pakistan. “There is a need to get rid of hatred. This country belongs to Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians and all those who live here,” Abdullah said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.