‘Our religion does not tell us to look down at other religions’: Farooq Abdullah

SRINAGAR — Launching a vitriolic attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over his ‘mangalsutra’ remarks, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah on Tuesday said “our religion does not tell us to look down at other religions” and added that a Muslim can never snatch the mangalsutra of Hindu women.

The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister said “it is unfortunate that our PM said such a thing”.

“Our religion Islam tells us to treat everyone equally. Our religion does not tell us to look down at other religions. It tells us to respect other faiths like we respect our own faith,” Abdullah told reporters here.

“It will never happen that a Muslim will snatch the mangalsutra of a (Hindu) mother or sister. (If anyone does), he is not a Muslim. He does not understand Islam then,” he added.

Addressing a rally in Rajasthan’s Banswara on Sunday, Modi claimed, “The Congress’ manifesto says they will calculate the gold with mothers and sisters and then distribute that property. They will distribute it to whom. Manmohan Singh’s government had said that Muslims have the first right on the country’s assets.”

Abdullah said Islam does not preach disrespect for any religion.

“Islam teaches me that if you kill one person, mind it, you have killed humanity. I am also a Muslim and the Quran does not teach me to hate Hindus. I love Hindus as much as I love Sikhs and Muslims. I feel when they will progress, we will also progress and this nation will also progress,” he added.

On the BJP’s agenda of ‘One Nation, One Election’, Abdullah said that it was not possible to have a single election for the entire country as each of the 28 states were different.

“How can it be possible in 28 states which are so different? Secondly, they are saying that they want to change the Constitution. They want only one election and then install their prime minister like (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, who will continue in office till he is alive,” Abdullah said.

“Otherwise tell me why they are worried about 2047. Will they be round till 2047? They have it planned that they don’t want any elections, they want to occupy power and do whatever they want to,” he added.

The National Conference president questioned the law that removed the Chief Justice of India from the selection committee for the Election Commission.

“The Election Commission selection panel consisted of the Chief Justice, a representative of the Government of India and the leader of opposition. What was the need to remove the CJI? There are two government representatives. What will the lone opposition representative do?” he asked.

Asked about the assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir, Abdullah said he does not know when the polls will be held.

“We don’t know whether the assembly elections will take place and when these will take place. It is the Supreme Court which has said that elections should be held. Who knows if they win, they might subjugate the Supreme Court as well,” he added.

On the alliance between the People’s Conference led by Sajad Gani Lone and the Apni Party headed by Altaf Bukhari, Abdullah appealed to them to consider the BJP’s attitude towards Muslims before extending tacit support to the right wing party.

“I want to appeal to all three — Ghulam Nabi Azad, Sajad Lone and Altaf Bukahri — they should see the attitude towards Muslims of those (BJP) who they are standing for here. That’s all I want to tell them. The Muslims they are trying to fool today, will they survive tomorrow?” he asked.” — (PTI)