In first remarks on the government’s decision to take away J&K’s special status and bifurcate the state into the Union Territories of J&K and Ladakh, National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah Tuesday said the government’s move to split the state feels as if “your body is being carved”.
Breaking down while speaking to NDTV at his home in Srinagar, Abdullah said “maine kabhi yeh Hindustan nahin dekha” (I have never seen this India) and urged the country to stand by Kashmir. “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.”
He said he has been under detention at his home and “I feel sad that the Home Minister of India can lie like this”. He was referring to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s remark in Lok Sabha that Abdullah was neither under detention nor arrest and was at his home of his own will.
On the bifurcation of the state, Abdullah asked if the government will “divide our hearts too”.
“How do you think… one would 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, as to how we have been betrayed. How will be made from a state into a Union Territory… and dividing the regions.”
“Are they going to divide people’s hearts also? I would think they are going to remove Hindus one side, Muslims one side, Buddhists one side. Is that what they want? Is this what India is? I thought my India was for all, everyone who believes in a secular nation, who believes in unity.”
“Yeh maine Hindustan nahin dekha. Maine kabhi yeh Hindustan nahin dekha. Yeh Hindustan hum sabka Hindustan hai, Hindu ho, Muslim ho, Sikh ho, Isaai ho, yeh sabka Hindustan tha (I have never seen this India. This India is of all, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs, Christians),” he said.
“…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. Article 370, 35A guaranteeing the special status of the state was granted by Government of India… 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 upon all 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,” he said.
Asked if he will approach the court, Abdullah said: “I think we will all, Inshallah 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?”
“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,” he said.
To a query on whether he had met his son Omar Abdullah, he said: “I met him before he was taken to jail last night.”