JAMMU: Three quick developments have changed the scene in turbulent Kashmir after Farooq Abdullah chanted ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ and ‘Jai Hindi’ in full pitch at the All Party Homage Meet to Atal Behari Vajpayee in New Delhi.
A day after Farooq’s impromptu and emotive sloganeering; Kashmir remained shell shocked, with ever vocal separatists and secessionists turning deaf and dumb. But it was different two days later. The Pakistan apologists and stooges of paid terrorists and terror perpetrators vitiated the Hazratbal Eid atmosphere by heckling Farooq Abdullah. This was perhaps the last thing for a ‘tiger’ (read it in the context of Farooq Abdullah being son of Sher-e-Kashmir) to roar. He roared the way his legendary father Sheikh Abdullah did in the historic Lal Chowk of Srinagar on March 3, 1975 by nailing Pakistan in the midst of a two lakh strong crowd for giving a shut-down call on February 25, 1975 when he had taken over as Chief Minister in pursuance to Indira-Sheikh Accord. The Sheikh had justified the accord as a way forward to end political uncertainty in Kashmir and to take his people to pinnacles of progress and peace. Ironically, the Valley had obliged Pakistan as well that point of time by heeding to its shut-down call.
Now that the same Kashmir heckled Farooq Abdullah on the day of highest religious significance, he opened himself up and showed the mirror to dubious entities in Kashmir.
To a national television channel, Farooq Abdullah replied a volley of questions and challenged violence mongers, saying, “You’ve destroyed J&K and set it back 100 years while the country has moved ahead. We want to touch the skies but we are yet to lift-off from the ground.”
Vowing that Jammu and Kashmir is and will always be a part of India, he said, “We’re part of 1.25 billion people. We are! We’re not just 1 crore or 1.5 crore. We’re 1.2 billion people”.
In a stern and strong message to all those who give the ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’ chant a religious spin, he said: “I would say, you’re wrong’. This is our land, this is our Earth. How does it matter if you treat it as a Mother? In my Islam it says, ‘If you don’t love your land, you cannot love me.’ Ask all these scholars if it is true or not. If you cannot love your motherland then you cannot love God.”
Taking his hecklers head on, Farooq Abdullah observed, “They think that Farooq Abdullah will get threatened by these tactics but nothing and no one can scare me. Death is in the hands of God. Today, I am asking, what is their purpose? What’s the intention? If they think that this will get them ‘Azaadi’ then I would like to say that they should first free themselves from poverty, diseases and hunger. Those who hide in the shadow and chant slogans, I want to tell them that this will not bring peace. For ages this border stands tall, we have witnessed four wars so, it is high time we talk peace. This is our Nation and we should love with peace. And all these people try to create a disturbance. What was the need for all this on Eid?”
Summing up past nearly three decades of terror, Farooq said, “Azaadi’ and separatists have destroyed J&K for the last 30 years.
Referring to the rubble rousers, Farooq Abdullah said, “Will chanting (‘Musa Musa’) change anything? Will it change the border? They’re fools! And I want to tell those who are behind them, ‘You will never succeed! You will pay a very heavy price one day for this. Beware!’ I am from this soil, I won’t run away. You’ve destroyed J&K, set it back 100 years while the country has moved ahead. We want to touch the skies but we are yet to lift-off from the ground.”
Farooq Abdullah did his little bit to show a mirror to the confused Azadi seekers of the Valley and their supporters across the Indian sub-continent, unfortunately within the country as well. This bold stride can turn as a huge game changer in the Kashmir context. Either he will succeed in galvanising a silent majority of Kashmiris to speak out loud and clear against those who have benefitted from the ‘Azaadi enterprise’ for the past over 28 years or he has scripted the obituary of his National Conference.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper