Raising nationalistic slogans at a prayer meeting for former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in Delhi has landed National Conference patriarch Farooq Abdullah in trouble back home. The former Chief Minister was forced to leave during Eid prayers on Wednesday after he was heckled at one of Jammu and Kashmir’s holiest shrines – Hazratbal in Srinagar.
As Mr Abdullah offered prayers, sitting on a chair in the front row because of his ill health, a section of youths started shouting slogans and chanted “Farooq Abdullah go back”. They even tried to approach Mr Abdullah and were only prevented by the human chain formed by men around the former Chief Minister.
Mr Abdullah made an emotional speech and raised slogans of “Bharat Mata ki Jai” at the end of the all-party prayer meeting for former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Monday.
While Vajpayee was one of the most respected leaders in the Kashmir Valley for roadmap to peace — “‘Insaniyat, Kashmiriyat, jamhooriyat” – the nationalistic slogans were opposed both on ideological and religious grounds.
“I did not leave the venue and completed my prayers,” said the 80-year-old parliamentarian from Srinagar.
“They are my own people. They are misguided and I cannot escape my duties of being their leader,” Mr Abdullah was quoted as saying later by news agency Press Trust of India.
“A politician, at times, has to face people’s anger. I only hope these misguided youths are counselled properly,” he added.