People who drove away Pandits shouldn’t talk of secularism: Modi
The BJP’s prime ministerial candidate has hit out at National Conference president Farooq Abdullah, who on Sunday said those who vote for Narendra Modi should drown in the sea.
Speaking to a television channel on Monday, Mr. Modi accused the NC chief’s father, Sheikh Abdullah, and son and Jammu and Kashmir, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, of communalising Kashmir.
“I want to tell Farooq Abdullah that Kashmir has dealt the severest blow to the Indian tradition of secularism. And that was owing to your politics and that of your father and your son. You gave a communal colour to the land of Sufi culture for personal political gains. You, your father and son have committed the sin of communalising Kashmir. Such a statement does not behove a person of your position. If anyone should drown, then you should see your own face in the mirror. Those who chased away Kashmiri Pandits, what right do they have to preach secularism to others?”
Mr. Modi said his silence should not be interpreted as weakness. “Just because we are silent, it does not mean anyone can hurt India’s long tradition of secularism. India’s future lies in development politics, not vote-bank politics. Our train is not going to be derailed by people like Mr. Abdullah,” he said.
The BJP leader said: “India is secular not because the word ‘secularism’ was added to the Constitution. For thousands of years, India has followed Sarva Pantha Sambhav [harmony among all sects]. Indian has never led an offensive against other countries and religions. Secularism is in our veins, not just in the Constitution. Our country is inclusive.”