We had chosen Gandhi's India, not BJP's: Farooq

File Photo/ GK

Member Parliament and NC President Dr Farooq Abdullah today said that they had joined “Mahatma Gandhi’s secular India, not BJP’s India.”

“They ask us to go to Pakistan. If we would have to go to Pakistan, we could have gone there earlier (1947). No one could have stopped us. And the BJP would have been on the other side of Lakhanpur,” Dr Farooq Abdullah said in Jammu today.

Abdullah was speaking in the jam-packed convention hall of the NC headquarters where the senior party leaders and workers including Provincial President Devender Singh Rana welcomed Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah in the party office for the first time after August 5, 2019 changes. Earlier, the NC leaders and workers received both the leadership at Satwari Airport and they reached the NC headquarters in the shape of a rally.

Speaking before the party leaders, Farooq Abdullah said: “That time Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah told the people that our way is towards Mahatma Gandhi’s India, not towards BJP’s Hindustan.”

“That was the country where all the people from different religions would live peacefully and would have equal rights and respect. I was a citizen of that country. I never thought that my country is any other,” said Abdullah.

He said: “When I was not in J&K and I was in foreign land, they started looking for Farooq Abdullah to save J&K. I will not name those leaders. That time, people would say that the National Conference is non-existent. However, they knew that it was only NC which could save J&K. Then, no one was looking for BJP.”

Farooq Abdullah said: “I do not fear them (rightwing protesters).”

“Come in front of me and answer my questions. I do not pick batons and stones,” he asked the protesters who burned his effigy. He asked the rightwing protesters to go to the border and show their courage. “I am not stopping you. This political party gave lives for the defence of Kashmir when tribals attacked J&K. All communities fought against the tribals,” he said.

Coming down heavily on BJP, he said: “Where were you when Farooq Abdullah was fighting for India in Geneva? Your leader, former Prime Minister late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was with me. When he was told to speak, Vajpayee was not able to speak there.”

“Today Farooq Abdullah is termed as Pakistani. I will tell you who I am. Never think I will fear you. You lied to the people in the name of development and employment,” he said.

“They could not even rehabilitate Kashmiri Pandits in Kashmir. See the unemployed youth on the roads and casual labourers agitating for their rights.”

‘LIKE TRUMP, THEY WILL ALSO GO ONE DAY’

“Five years will pass. Like US President Donald Trump is going, they will also go,” he said. “For how long, you will create division and mislead people for your vote bank,” he said.

“Have you made your party agenda India’s agenda? Do not think that India is yours. Many Governments have come and gone,” Farooq said.

He appealed to NC leaders and workers for brotherhood because they (BJP) wanted to create divisions in the name of religion like British did.

“Farooq Abdullah never fears you. I will not die until the rights of my people are restored. I am here to do something for the people and the day I will finish my work, I will leave this world,” he said.

“We never thought Ladakh was separate. Jammu, Ladakh and Kashmir are not separate but they are part of J&K. We have come here for restoration of Art 370 and 35-A and revoke black laws.”

‘3 MARSHALS WILL ALSO GO’

“J&K will have development only when it has its own elected government. There is no development, no ventilators or oxygen in hospitals,” he said, adding that there are “three marshals” in Lt. Governor’s government and they will also go one day.

It was 84-year-old Abdullah’s first political meeting in Jammu since the abrogation of Article 370, which accorded Jammu and Kashmir special status, and bifurcation of the state into union territories in August last year.

Abdullah, accompanied by his son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, arrived here this afternoon, their first visit to the region in over a year.

The Abdullahs, along with other political leaders in Kashmir, were detained under the Public Safety Act and released this year.