Farooq Slams Centre For Bias Against Kashmiri Muslims

5 November 2009
Times of India

Srinagar: Union minister and former Jammu & Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah on Thursday lashed out at the Centre for harbouring ‘‘bias against Kashmiri Muslims’’ and asked it to put an end to the mindset. ‘‘We’re a Muslim majority area and proud of it. We aren’t terrorists and don’t treat us like that,’’ he said and added that the ‘‘bad treatment’’ hurts people and forces them to revolt and agitate. The Union minister said he fears that it (bad treatment) would simmer in the hearts and minds of youth. ‘‘It’s time we were treated as equals and this bias was washed away,’’ said Farooq, addressing the 15th Indian Distance Education Association Annual Conference in Srinagar. ‘‘Think of us as you think of yourself,’’ he said, referring to the Centre. He asked the delegates from across the country to promote Kashmir’s positive image. ‘‘Tell your friends and relatives that we’re peace-loving people. Islam teaches us to be peaceful. It doesn’t teach us hate, but love and respect. That is the message you should take back from Kashmir,’’ he said amid thundering applause. Farooq said Kashmiris are proud people and not beggars. ‘‘We may have made mistakes in the past, but there is nothing that can’t be rectified.’’ He lashed out at the Services cricket team for not playing Ranji Trophy match in Srinagar. ‘‘Services apologised after doing the damage. It’s unfortunate that those who say we’re here to protect you didn’t play the game,’’ he said. ‘‘The services decision damaged Kashmir’s image beyond imagination.”