National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday said the government’s decision to bifurcate the state of Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories felt like “your body was being carved”. Speaking to news channel NDTV, Abdullah asked if the government will “divide our hearts too.” In his first reaction to the development, the former Chief Minister broke down, saying he hopes the country stands by Kashmir. Read in Malayalam
“Yeh maine Hindustan nahin dekha. Maine kabhi yeh Hindustan nahin dekha. Yeh Hindustan hum sabka Hindustan hai, Hindu ho, Muslim ho, Sikh ho, isai ho, yeh sabka Hindustan tha. (I have never seen this India. This India is of all of us. Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs) he said.
“We will not give in. Death is the wish of God. So why worry about it? What worries me is that what must be the ordinary man going through. Locked up, he may not even have medicines in his house, he may not even have food in his house. What is the use of the government saying we have rations for three months, we have sugar for three months, atta for three months, when a man cannot get to it, not have money to buy it. Is that worth it?” he told the news channel. Jammu and Kashmir LIVE updates
“As soon as the gate will open and our people will be out, we will fight, we will go to the court. We are not gun-runners, grenade-throwers, stone-throwers, we believe in peaceful resolutions,” he told news agency ANI.
In an emotional appeal to the country, Abdullah told NDTV “We have been with you, through thick and thin. I hope you stand with us through thick and thin, and pray for the return of democracy and secularism in the country.”
Calling Home Minister Amit Shah a “liar”, Abdullah said he was detained last night. “I was detained in my house… I feel sad that Home Minister can lie like this,” he said, describing how security personnel detained him in his house. “I told them the home minister says I’m not detained. Who are you to detain me?” he said.
In the Lok Sabha today, Shah had said Abdullah is neither under detention nor arrest and was at his home of his own will. He made these remarks when Supriya Sule (NCP) said Abdullah used to sit next to him in the House. She said he is not in House and his voice is not being heard. Parliament LIVE updates
When asked if he saw his son and NC leader Omar Abdullah, he said he last saw him before he was arrested Monday evening.
With mobile communication and Internet services suspended and public movement restricted, all of the Kashmir Valley in a state of lockdown from midnight Sunday, a day before Union Home Minister Amit Shah announced the decision to do away with Article 370 in Rajya Sabha. Last night, former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah were arrested along with People’s Conference leader Sajad Lone.
Full text of Farooq Abdullah’s interview with NDTV
Q: Yesterday police did not allow media to reach you, what is your first reaction?
Farooq Abdullah: You saw that I was detained in my house, and I feel sad that the Home Minister of India can lie like this and say that Farooq Abdullah is not detained and is staying in his house on his own will. That is not true and you yourself noticed it. They did not allow anyone to come into my house, I have a big padlock on the door, I had to force myself. I do not know how many of my securitymen will be dismissed, because, I said when the home minister is saying that I am not detained who are you to detain me? And just to come and talk to you media… to tell you what we feel inside.. that for 70 years we fought the battle with the nation and today we are supposed to be the culprits.
It was the guarantee given by the solid Government of India. The article 370, 35A guaranteeing the special status of the state was granted by Government of India.
Q: You have been a three-time CM, a Parliamentarian from Srinagar, what was your reaction when you saw the state being bifurcated and being reduced to a union territory? Its special status… Constitution.. everything…
Farooq Abdullah: How do you think one will feel when your body is being carved. The body that stood together in all odds, fought every evil unitedly. Today how do you think people feel who have stood by this nation, and how we have been betrayed, how we have been made from a state into a Union Territory and dividing the regions… Are they going to divide people’s hearts also? (breaks down), I think that they are going to remove Hindusone side, Muslims one side, Buddhists one side (tearful).
Is this what they want? is this what India is? I thought my India was — which is for all, everyone who believes in a secular nation and in unity (breaks down).
Q: When you are so emotional about this… do you think your legacy, what you stood for all through your life… and your father it’s gone… what you stood for and your politics has been made irrelevant now, what is the future of your politics and politics of your father?
Farooq Abdullah: Our politics will be to continue to fight, we will fight for democracy, we will fight for unity because unity gives us strength and that unity, I call all the people who stand for a secular India, democratic India, India of its principles. It is not a small thing that we have been given that status, it was not given by some ordinary people. It was given to us by the government of India… by leaders like Nehru.
Q: Will you go to court, will it be a fight?
Farooq Abdullah: I think we will all, Inshaallah sit together again and take it to the logical end that. We are not going to give in. Death is wish of the God. So, why worry about it? What worries me is that what must be the ordinary man going through… Locked up, he may not even have medicines in his house, he may not even have food in his house.
What is the use of the government saying we have rations for three months, we have milk.. sugar for three months, atta (flour) for three months when a man cannot get to it, cannot have money to buy it. Is that worth it? Yeh maine Hindustan nahin dekha. Maine kabhi yeh Hindustan nahin dekha. Yeh Hindustan hum sabka Hindustan hai, Hindu ho, Muslim ho, Sikh ho, isai ho, yeh sabka Hindustan tha (I have never seen this India, this country belongs to us all, Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, this country belonged to all).
Q: What do you say, Dr Sahab, about Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Abdullah….(sic)
Farooq Abdullah: Remember (choking), remember… I may die, because of my health, but I want to leave a message for the people of my state and the people of India. We have been with you, through thick and thin. I hope you will be with us through thick and thin and pray for the return of democracy in the country.. the return of secularism in the country.
Q: Have you met Omar Abdullah?
Farooq Abdullah: I met him before he was taken to jail last night.