JAMMU, Dec 5: National Conference Provincial President Devender Singh Rana today said that secularism was under severe strain with reactionary and fascist forces working overtime to divide the nation on religious, regional, ethnical and caste lines.
“Compartmentalizing society on religious lines is against the idea of India”, Rana said while paying homage to Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah on his 111th birth anniversary at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this morning. Prominent among those who paid floral tribute to Sheikh Abdullah also included former ministers Mohammed Shaffi Uri, Surjeet Singh Slathia and Ajay Kumar Sadhotra.
He said beneficiaries of polarized politics might have derived short term dividends but continuation of this trend could prove detrimental to the larger national interest. In this context, he referred to the malicious outburst of the RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat recently in Jammu about India being a Hindu Rashtra, and said such a myopic mindset will impede country’s growth as a vibrant, forward looking, progressive and dynamic nation, capable of emerging as a world leader at the strength of its glorious civilization and human resource.
Emphasizing crucial need of strengthening and sustaining time tested unity; the Provincial President reminded secular forces of their responsibility in isolating divisive elements for overall good of the nation. He said no society will progress if its foundations are laid on myopic considerations.
“This (secular bonding) is the spirit which has all along guided National Conference”, he said while recalling the cherished slogan of ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist ethos’ raised by Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammed Abdullah during horrendous era of the Partition. He said National Conference has never deviated from the path of secular traditions, which is why the people, irrespective of caste, creed and colour were feeling secure under its umbrella.
He also made a mention of polarizing attempts being made by the present dispensation and expressed concern over uprooting of people on selective basis from homes and hearths of their ancestors.
Paying tribute to Sher-e-Kashmir, former minister and Sr State Vice President Surjeet Singh Slathia recalled the glorious role of Sheikh Abdullah in strengthening amity and regional unity at a time when the entire sub-continent was in communal frenzy.
Slathia lashed out at the PDP-BJP dispensation for landing Jammu and Kashmir into unprecedented crisis, saying while unrest is taking alarming proportions in the Valley, Jammu is braving the brunt of border skirmishes and terror attacks.
Former MP Sheikh Abdul Rehman cautioned against emergence of communal forces, saying it is not good omen for secular and progressive India. He said the slogan of Sheikh Abdullah in strengthening the bonds of amity and unity has immense relevance now than ever before.
The homage-giving function began with all religious prayers. The senior functionaries offered fruit and other eatables to the inmates of Vridh Ashram at Amphalla here.
The 111th birth anniversary of Sher-e-Kashmir was also observed at all the district headquarters of the Jammu region with local functionaries paying floral tribute to Sheikh Abdullah.