‘You only don’t like all that we do’: Omar Abdullah’s take on loudspeaker controversy

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Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir Omar Abdullah

Former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah, on Wednesday, lashed out about the ongoing controversy about loudspeakers in mosques and alleged that a ‘hatred’ is being spread for political reasons. 

In strong contempt, the ex-CM said, “Why can’t loudspeakers be allowed at mosques when they’re being used in other places? We’re being told that halal meat shouldn’t be sold. Why? We aren’t saying mics shouldn’t be installed at temples, gurudwaras. You don’t like only all that we do.”

“Jammu and Kashmir agreed to accession with India when we were told that all religions will be seen with equal eyes here, he said. “At that time, if it had been told that one religion would be given more importance than others here, then, maybe our decision would’ve been different,” the National Conference leader added. 

He added that Muslims had never objected to loudspeakers in temples or gurudwaras. 

“You don’t like the way we dress, the way we pray. You don’t have a problem with anyone else,” he said. 

About Baramulla asking its teachers not to wear hijab

“The reason given is just not right. This school did not start yesterday. These teachers (who wear hijab) must have been interacting with the students earlier also. What changed overnight?” he asked.

“Everyone has the freedom to follow his or her religion in this country. It is enshrined in our Constitution that we are a secular country, which means all religions are equal. I do not think any government should interfere in this.

“This is playing with such a danger that can pose problems for the country. We would like that such decisions should not be taken. People of all faiths should be free to follow their religion,” Abdullah said.

In reference to the Hijab row in Karnataka over students wearing hijab in educational institutions, Omar said, “We hope that the effort to bring Karnataka into Jammu and Kashmir will be stopped forthwith.”

Abdullah said the reason given by the Baramulla school for the diktat was not right. The former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister described it as an attempt to create an atmosphere for politics.

Will PAGD contest the election as an alliance?

Asked if the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) will contest the election as an alliance, Abdullah said it was for the leaders involved to decide.

“I am not an office-bearer of the PAGD. But I can give my personal opinion. I would like that the PAGD contests the election as an alliance. We should not allow the BJP and its B team and C team to divide votes. This will be my suggestion, but the final decision has to be taken by the PAGD,” he added.

(with PTI inputs)

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