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NC Chief Abdullah Slams PM Over Remarks on Mahatma Gandhi

SRINAGAR: National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah Thursday described Narendra Modi’s recent remarks about Mahatma Gandhi as “shocking” and said the prime minister “feels shame” in praising the ‘Bapu’ even as both of them hail from Gujarat.

Abdullah also slammed Union Home Minister Amit Shah over his announcement that the kin of militants and stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir would not be provided government jobs, saying the Centre does not know how to win hearts of the people.

Talking to PTI Videos here, he said, “Modi ji says (Mahatma) Gandhi got recognition after a film was made on him! It’s shocking.”

The former Union minister said world leaders like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Junior would take inspiration from ‘Bapu’.

“His statues are present all over the world and our PM forgot that India’s independence has a great contribution of Gandhi in it. Both Modi and Gandhi belong to Gujarat and yet, the PM feels shame in praising Gandhi,” Abdullah added.

The NC president said he cannot forget the sacrifices rendered by Gandhi for the country and that “he (Gandhi) wanted Hindus and Muslims to live together happily in our country, but the present PM is widening the gap between the two communities”.

Prime Minister Modi in a TV interview to a TV channel said, “…Across the world, Mahatma Gandhi was a great person. Was it not our responsibility in these 75 years to ensure that the entire world knows Mahatma Gandhi. I am sorry to say that no one knows about him. The first time when the film ‘Gandhi’ was made, it was then that there was curiosity across the world as to who this person was. We have not done so…”

Hitting out at Shah, the NC chief said, “They (Centre) do not know how to win hearts. When I met Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi in New Delhi few years ago, I told him that there is a trust deficit between Kashmir and New Delhi, which needed to be addressed.”

“I told him that the distance would increase if it continues and now when they are saying jobs won’t be given to the families of militants or stone pelters, it widens the gap and they can choose the wrong path again,” Abdullah said.

The former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir said if someone is going off the track, “we need to bring them back on the right path”.

“We cannot just push them away. It is a harsh step by the Centre,” he added.

Abdullah came out in support of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti in the wake of an FIR against her for allegedly violating the Model Code of Conduct.

“I think it is the tragedy of this government. Every person has a right to protest. She did not commit any mistake. She only asked the authorities why the workers of her party were detained,” he said.

The NC president alleged that many of his party workers were also taken into the custody before the polling.

“They (government) did not want people to vote for us. But, Mehbooba (Mufti) could not bear it and came out to protest in front of a police station in Anantnag. I congratulate her,” he added.

Abdullah, a member of Parliament who is not seeking a re-election from Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency owing to his health, said these FIRs are also “very deceptive”.

The NC chief also said the prime minister’s statements on Muslims during the election campaign have been “surprising”.

“It has been 75 years and we are still being deprived of our rights. Please tell me how many Muslims are working in the Central Secretariat or any of the government offices? Our Islam teaches us to show tolerance towards other religions. We are god-fearing people,” he said.

On the airstrikes in Rafah, the NC president said it was sad that the world was silent over the killings there.

“Though many countries including Germany and Spain have accepted Palestine as a state, that is not enough. Strong action should be taken against Israel. The International Court is also silent. Don’t know where the pressure is coming from. America calls itself a democratic country but is helping Israel with procuring arms. They also want to erase the Muslim population from the world,” he said.

Abdullah said (Mahatma) Gandhi was vocal about the “atrocities done in Palestine”.

“He (Gandhi) also supported the struggle of the people of Palestine and wanted it to be recognised as a state. But our current PM congratulated Israel over its airstrikes on the Palestinians. It is sad. I pray to Allah that we find a solution to this war,” he said.

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