Pak exploiting religious sentiments in Kashmir: Farooq
25 August 2001
The Daily Excelsior
JAMMU: Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah today charged Pakistan with exploiting religion to further its nefarious agenda in Kashmir after having been humbled by India in three wars. Addressing a seminar organised by the State Gurdwara Parbandhak Board in connection with the Bi-centenary celebrations of Sher-e-Punjab Maharaja Ranjit Singh on ''Political, Administrative and Secular Vision of Maharaja Ranjit Singh and its relevance in 21st century'', Dr Abdullah said, ''the enemy across is using religion excessively to draw a line of hatred between the people of Jammu and Kashmir''. He said that Britishers also attempted to divide the people of India when their all worst tactics were failed to shatter the traditional bonds between the people of various faiths living in India from times immemorial. ''Again, the religion is being used for fomenting trouble in our land'', he said. Lashing out at fundamentalist forces for exploiting religious sentiments of the masses Chief Minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah today cautioned the people against nefarious designs of some elements who, according to him, are hell bent to spread hatred for their petty political gains. Dr Farooq Abdullah regretted that politicians have turned religion into a tool to get their nefarious designs accomplish. ''It is very unfortunate that basic issues have been side-lined and Mandir-Masjid or other religious issues have dominated India political scene'', he regretted and exhorted the people to expose those elements, who have been using religion for their political ends. He regretted that tendency among some politicians to harp on religion for their political ends. ''Since Independence the most unfortunate dimension of the political structure in India also been creation of vote bank that has reiterated the political growth'', he lamented and referred to his experience during 1987 Assembly elections when some political parties in Kashmir used religion as election plank. ''I was shell shocked to see blatant misuse of religion for political gains'', Dr Abdullah recalled. ''Use of religion for sticking to power is unethical'', he said, adding, those sustaining on such a strategy cannot befool the people for a long. Such elements cannot always succeed in making people believe that a particular religion was in danger and that too at the time of polls. Chief Minister said that strength of India lies in its unity and diversity. ''India can only flourish by binding the hearts and not by might or hatred'', he said and appealed to the people not to expose old wounds. Indirectly referring to destruction of the Babri Masjid and anti-Sikh riots of 1984, Chief Minister said that those incidents were painful and we should not recalled that incidents. ''Instead of exposing old wounds we should have to work for strengthening brotherhood and communal harmony for the upliftment and development of India'', he said, adding, ''everyone has a right to fight injustice and live with their heads up as proud citizens of the country. Dr Farooq Abdullah pointed to the horrendous instances of militancy in Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir and said that sagacity lies in forgetting the sears on human psyche as in such situations it becomes very difficult to differentiate between friends and foes, compatriots or enemies. ''If we want to structure our political system on the cherished principles of unity and harmony, we must muster a strength to create a structure as laid by the Maharaja'', he asserted while paying tributes to the secular credentials of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Th Chief Minister said that the had the spirit of communal harmony in vogue during early times been imbibed, the Indian subcontinent would have been splintered into Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. He observed that overcoming inner weakness is imperative for this. He quoted Alama Iqbal and said to steer people through challenges a leader must have ‘Nigah Buland, Sukhan Dilnawaz, Jaan Pursoz, Yahi Hai Raft-e-Safar Mir Karwaan Key Liye’. Chief Minister hoped that the history of India would be projected in right perspective for posterity to know about the valour and sagacity of great warriors. He advocated production of a serial on the life and contribution of Maharaja Ranjit Singh for telecasting on television particularly on Punjabi Channel. Responding to the various resolutions, the Chief Minister said that state government would consider renaming of a road after Maharaja Ranjit Singh and installation of his statue in Jammu. He also indicated that a statue of Pt. Girdhari Lal Dogra would also be installed. Several scholars threw light on the life and contributions of Maharaja Ranjit Singh. Those who spoke on the topic included Mahant Manjit Singh of Dera Nangali Sahib, Sukhdev Singh Bore, Rangil Singh, former Minister, Sudershan Singh Wazir, SGPB chief and others. Minister for Education, Mohammed Shafi, Ministers for Works Ali Mohammed Sagar, leaders of various political parties, scholars and large number of people attended the function. Three resolutions were also passed in the seminar amidst slogans. In one resolution gathering out-rightly rejected demand of the trifurcation.