National Conference president Farooq Abdullah said changing the names of cities was an attempt to change the pluralistic visage of India and a premeditated attempt to deviate the attention of people from the developmental deficit across the country.
“India is a mosaic of cultures and the contribution of Muslims cannot be belittled. Their contribution to the cultural pool of India is discernible in linguistics, crafts, food and other art forms,” he said in a statement.
“Such attempts reveal the antipathy of the BJP-led state governments, including the incumbent Uttar Pradesh government, for academics and historical facts,” he alleged.
Abdullah, who represents the Srinagar Lok Sabha constituency, said India had historically been a point of convergence of different cultures and the names of various cities reflected its pluralistic culture.
The NC president said such irrational acts bring disrepute to the celebrated traits of India’s ethos known for forbearance.
“It seems to be a considered attempt to diverge the people from real issues that the country is faced with. The BJP which is at the helm of affairs has been serving people mere catchwords as development. People…are seeking answers from the BJP for not fulfilling the promises they made during the run-up for 2014 national elections,” he said.
He said history bears testimony to the fact that Muslims strengthened the pluralistic values of our country.
“The contribution of Muslims in India’s freedom struggle cannot be derided. People like Fakrudin Ali Ahmad, Maulana Azad, Zakir Hussain, and APJ Abdul Kalam, including others, contributed a lot towards India’s development,” he said.
Abdullah claimed people should remain cautious of such devious machinations that aim to divide the country on religious lines.
He also condemned a right-wing group for trying to vitiate the atmosphere of Jammu, where they had allegedly instructed a particular community not to sell properties to Muslims or rent properties to them.
“The people have always shown steadfastness in upholding secular fabric of our state in the most trying times. I am sure they will keep up with the tradition of not lending ear to such obnoxious propaganda,” he said.