Wed 27 April 2022:
Srinagar: Present day India is not the country that Jammu and Kashmir had acceded to, National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said today, adding that the decision “would have been something else” if people had known the religious rights of Muslims “will not be protected” in this country.
“When we decided to accede to India, we acceded to a country where every religion would be treated equally. We were not told that one religion will get preferential treatment and others will be suppressed,” the former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister said while speaking to reporters in Srinagar.
“If we knew it, perhaps our decision would have been something else. We had consciously taken the decision after we were told that every religion will get equal rights,” he said.
The National Conference leader also talked about the ongoing controversy in states like Karnataka, Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh on loud-speakers at mosques during the azaan or prayers, Hijab in class and Halal meet. Muslims, he said, were being suppressed for their religious beliefs and their way of living.
“Why shouldn’t we use loud-speakers at mosques? If other religious places have a right to use it, why not mosques,” questioned Mr Abdullah.
In the past few weeks, states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat have seen clashes during Ram Navami processions. Violence erupted when the processions, blaring loud music, passed through Muslim-dominated areas and were allegedly attacked with stones.
In Karnataka, in the middle of protests by students barred from wearing the hijab in class, another controversy broke out when right-wing Hindu groups objected to the sale of Halal meat.
“You tell us don’t sell halal meat. Why? Our religion asks us to eat halal meat. Why you are stopping it? We are not forcing you to eat Halal. Has any Muslim forced you to eat halal? You eat the way you like to eat and we do the way we like,” Mr Abdullah said.
Muslims, said the former chief minister, never objected to loud-speakers at temples or other religious places.
“We never tell you there should be no mic in temples. Don’t you use mics in temples and Gurdwaras. But you get rattled by our mic only. You get rattled by our religion. You don’t like the way we dress, the way we pray. You don’t have problem with anyone else. They are spreading hate,” he said.
Mr Abdullah’s comments come a day after 100 former bureaucrats wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to call for an end to what they called “politics of hate” by governments under BJP control.
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