Srinagar, Feb 09: The outgoing Member of Parliament (MP) and the leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad Tuesday prayed for end to militancy in J&K and return of Kashmiri Pandits stating that he was among millions of Indian Muslims, who never opted for Pakistan.
The former chief minister of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir—was making his last speech in the Rajya Sabha as his term will end on February 15.
Addressing the Rajya Sabha, he said that he was glad to see Jammu and Kashmir marching ahead. “In J&K, there was an occasion when people would celebrate August 14 (Pakistan’s Independence Day). Today, things have changed. I am among luckiest lot of Indian Muslims who never visited Pakistan nor opted for that country,” he said.
Azad said that he has been in politics ever since the school days and have read Gandhi, Nehru, and Maulana Azad wherefrom he learned about patriotism.
“I still remember my college days at SP College in Srinagar were both August 14 and 15 August were celebrated and the majority were those who celebrated the 14th August (Pakistan’s Independence Day),” he said. “I including my friends, the staff just dozens in numbers, used to celebrate 15 August and never joined colleges for at least a week fearing that we would be thrashed.”
He said: “We have come out of that and I am happy a huge number of people including regional parties in Kashmir have moved forward.”
“I can proudly say that there is nothing bad in the Muslims in India but the community in the majority needs to take steps to move ahead”, he said.
He said that during his tenure as Chief Minister of J&K, he conducted the first public meeting in the home constituency of Syed Ali Shah Geelani, in Sopore where he stated that the government will of the people only when there won’t be any discrimination on basis of religion.
Azad recalled a militant attack in Kashmir in which eight Gujrat based tourists were killed and several others injuries stating that he failed to control his emotions that point time after seeing the families of slain tourists.
In tears, the emotional Azad prayed for the end to militancy in J&K. “Thousands of security forces and civilians have been killed some in cross-firing, and our mothers and daughters have become widows,” he said. “I pray that the situation in Kashmir improves”
Narrating an Urdu phrase, Azad said during his university elections it was Kashmiri pandits who voted in the majority and became the reason for his success including the men and women.
“I also pray for the early return of Kashmiri Pandits to the valley,” he said. He praised PM Modi for being impartial in the house. “PM Modi never shied away from exchanging greetings on special occasions,” Azad said.