Jammu, Apr 17: Stating that "religious intolerance" was the biggest challenge facing the country, former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah on Saturday called for a collective effort to combat growing tendencies of religious intolerance.
"There is need for a collective effort to combat growing tendencies of religious intolerance across the country, as this was the biggest challenge facing the country," he said while addressing party workers in Reasi district today.
He emphasised the crucial need of amity and harmony, describing these pivotal for progress and prosperity of the country. Abdullah said those fighting in the name of religion were ignoring that fundamentally every religion preaches peace, tranquillity, amity and brotherhood.
"Unless this spirit is imbibed and promoted, there will be no harmony in the society," he maintained.
The National Conference President underscored pivotal role of people at large in promoting spirit of inclusiveness in diverse society, especially at a time when some elements were out to destroy the time tested fabric of religious harmony and unity.
"As long as we remain united, nobody will be able to weaken us," Abdullah said. "We have to keep this spirit alive," he said and urged the party workers to take pledge of spread the message of communal amity and brotherhood in every locality.
He said that the state was passing through a difficult stage and there was a need for a collective effort to steer it to peace and tranquillity. He urged the Gujjars and downtrodden segments of society to concentrate on education of their children, saying this alone can put them in good stead to face the most competitive world with confidence.
Abdullah appreciated resilience of people in fighting disruptive and communal forces by maintaining age-old ethos of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh. The former chief minister accused the PDP-BJP dispensation for backtracking from promises made to people, pre-and-post-2014 elections.
"A peculiar situation is prevailing across Jammu and Kashmir with people feeling a sense of deprivation and neglect from the government which is working at cross purposes," he said while addressing striking workers of the Public Health and Engineering (PHE) Department at Katra town of Reasi district.