Rally around to stop BJP's designs, Omar Abdullah tells like minded parties

Addressing the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin's autobiography release event, Abdullah said during times of adversity one understood who one's friends were.

Published: 28th February 2022 10:22 PM  |   Last Updated: 28th February 2022 10:22 PM   |  A+A-

Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah

Former Jammu and Kashmir CM Omar Abdullah (Photo | PTI)


CHENNAI: National Conference top leader Omar Abdullah on Monday called upon like-minded secular parties to join forces to take on the BJP and continue the 'struggle' against steps taken by the Centre like the abrogation of Article 370.

Addressing the Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M K Stalin's autobiography release event, Abdullah said during times of adversity one understood who one's friends were.

When Article 370 was revoked on August 5, 2019, some of whom they had believed to be friends remained silent.

Though they thought that such people would speak up against the 'unjust' way Jammu and Kashmir was treated by the Centre, they remained silent to the development.

A lot of people with whom they had 'great, close personal relationship' were not only silent but were also complicit and supportive of the move.

However, the far away Tamil Nadu people and Stalin criticised and condemned the move and the way in which leaders like him were placed under detention.

"The way in which the Constitution was completely dismembered is something that we will never forget and that is why I am here," he said and thanked Stalin, his party the DMK and the state's people for standing behind them.

This made them realise who their friends were, he said.

In view of the scrapping of Article 370, the people of Jammu and Kashmir, he and his father went through a phase of adversity that was seldom imagined before.

Abdullah asserted that if a need arose to stand behind Tamil Nadu, 'we will be with you shoulder to shoulder,' as the DMK and the state's people demonstrated the "a friend in need is a friend indeed", spirit.

The country stood at a crucial juncture today and the very idea of 'what we stand for' faced an onslaught, he alleged.

"We are told that we no longer have a right to choose. Somehow the freedom to choose is not ours to enjoy."

The right to choose, the freedom in matters of religion, be it sporting religious symbols like a tilak, a turban, the burqa or Hijab is 'to be denied to us', for some reason.

The freedom to make choice is the very idea of India and the diversity of the nation allowed choice in every sphere of life, be it choice of food, religion, dress or the place to live.

"If that choice is taken away, then that idea of India is taken away from me and it is that idea of India that we must protect."

India is a federal entity enshrined in the Constitution, and yet there is a continuous onslaught on the powers of the states, he alleged.

If the idea of the Centre were to succeed, Stalin and Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan (who was also on the dais) would not have a choice to choose police chief or chief secretary, the former Jammu and Kashmir CM said.

"Is this the idea of a federal structure. Is this respect for states? Is this how we are going to strengthen the idea of India by disempowering people, what starts in Jammu and Kashmir does not end in Jammu and Kashmir."

The 'experiments' of Jammu and Kashmir would be 'utilised' in other parts of the country.

Abdullah said today he is in Tamil Nadu not just as a 'victim' but to caution about what could happen in future in other regions of the nation.

Without the consent of the people of Jammu and Kashmir, it was divided into two and reduced to union territory, he said.

"They were not asked whether this is something they wanted. This is the first time in the history of India that a state was downgraded to a union territory."

This was done without the permission of the people.

The Goveror took upon the powers of not only the Assembly but also the Constituent Assembly to make changes.

"What stops them to do the same thing to Tamil Nadu and Kerala."

Abdullah underscored that it is important for all like-minded parties who believed in the "idea of India as a country that is united because of its diversity," to join forces.

"It is important that we continue our struggle, the right and just struggle."

The fight is not against a political party, he said apparently hinting at the BJP but an entire machinery.

Though it is not an easy task it is still a fair and just endeavour, he said.

Tamil Nadu would be a 'bastion of strong support and message' of the idea of India, its diversity and every other aspect that made the nation special, he said.

Comparing the weather between Srinagar and Chennai, Abdullah said the climate here was not only warm, the warmth shown by Tamil Nadu people and particularly Chief Minister Stalin was noteworthy.

Congratulating Stalin for his autobiography (Part-I), 'One among you,' he said the title was pretty apt.

Abdullah lauded Stalin saying he has risen to his present position of Chief Minister and party president through sheer work, commitment and a track record of it and not due any other factor like inheritance.

"You don't become one amongst us because you are born into a particular family. Being one amongst a family, opens a door for you, but it does not keep the door open. You become one amongst us, one amongst the people because people identify with you, they reward you for the work you have done, for your struggle and there is no doubt that Chief Minister Stalin ji has struggled," he said.

Stalin had started his political innings from the grassroots level at a very young age of 13, he said quoting the autobiography's content that was explained to him.

Abdullah recalled incarceration of Stalin during the emergency period (1975-77) which added to his struggle.

His commitment to social justice, empowering people and development reached every corner of state.

This was demonstrated in the recent thumping victory of the DMK in the urban civic polls, he said adding the scale of victory resonated even in far away Jammu and Kashmir.

He recalled that his family had a long relationship with Tamil Nadu and his grandfather was detained in the state's Kodaikanal decades ago.

Stalin's autobiography in Tamil 'Ungalil Oruvan,' was unveiled by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi.


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