I Am A Kashmiri Pandit, Says Rahul Gandhi, Slams BJP For Dividing J&K10 September 2021
Jammu: Former Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Friday made a scathing attack at the BJP led union government and accused it of destroying the 'composite culture' in Jammu and Kashmir as he spoke to party workers in Jammu, and reached out to the Kshmiri Pandit community saying he is one of them. The Congress leader started his address with 'Jai Mata Di', which is a salutation to the mother goddess, and accused the BJP-RSS of dividing Jammu and Kashmir. He also assured help to the Kashmiri Pandit community, stating that he himself belonged to a Kashmiri Pandit family. Rahul Gandhi said he felt at home in Jammu and Kashmir, and at the Vaishno Devi temple, and said he will visit Ladakh soon. 'I have been to Jammu & Kashmir twice recently and I also want to go to Ladakh. J&K used to be a state, now it is a Union Territory... My family has deep links with this state,' the Congress leader said. Rahul Gandhi, who reached Jammu on Thursday and walked all the way to the Vaishno Devi shrine, had refused to make any comments on the day since he was on a pilgrimage. On Friday however, he launched a scathing attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and also evoked goddess Durga, Lakshmi and Saraswati in his address. 'I am disappointed and pained that BJP and RSS people are trying to divide people of Jammu and Kashmir in the name of religion and region and also trying to break the composite culture of Jammu and Kashmir,' Gandhi said addressing party's workers meeting here. 'I am happy that I have come to J&K but at the same time, I am sad too. During my visit to Mata Vaishno Devi Cave Shrine on Thursday, I saw the figures of Durga ji, Laxmi Ji and Saraswati Ji,' he said adding 'Durga Ji protects us from all evils, Laxmi Ji is a power that fulfills your dreams and Saraswati Ji gives us knowledge. He said decisions by the BJP like demonetisation, and taking away statehood from J&K are among decisions that made the goddesses upset. 'Did the demonetisation increase or decrease the power of Maa Lakshmi, did GST increase the powers of the goddess? Do laws like the new farm laws increase the power of Durga or decrease it?' he questioned, and slammed the ruling party for talking about religion and disgracing it. 'Those who call themselves Hindus are weakening people and destroying the powers of these symbols,' he said. The former Congress president also said that the Congress' election symbol of a hand is a part of symbols of all religions, and it gives the message of being fearless. Gesturing with his hand, the leader asked: 'What does the symbol of hand mean? It's thought to be a symbol of blessing, that is not right... It means to be fearless and tell the truth. That is why it is Congress' symbol. You see this symbol in every religion, because every religion teaches to be fearless. But the BJP is scared of the truth,' he said. Rahul Gandhi also said that he is a Kashmiri Pandit, and promised to help the community. 'I met my Kashmiri Pandit brothers delegation today. I come from a family of Kashmiri Pandits and I assure my brothers that I will help them,' he said. This is Gandhi's second visit to Jammu and Kashmir in the last one month and he informed that he will also go to Ladakh in coming days. The visit also comes on a day when the BJP led central government started an outreach program in the state under which 70 central ministers will visit J&K and reach out to the people. Jammu and Kashmir was converted into a Union Territory after article 370 was abrogated on August 5, 2019. Ladakh was also split and converted into a Union Territory.