NEW DELHI: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister and senior Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti on Tuesday slammed the Narendra Modi-led Central government, saying that “the India of Mahatma Gandhi is gradually turning into the India of Nathuram Godse”.
The remarks were a reference to the conventional symbolism that’s traditionally used to identify India — the land of peace and tolerance for which Mahatma Gandhi stood — in stark contrast with Nathuram Godse, the man who assassinated the Father of the Nation, and is generally associated with fundamentalism.
Interacting with reporters here, Mehbooba Mufti remembered former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, spoke on cricket, cricket matches and cricketers, and also India’s defeat to Pakistan at the T20 World Cup, in the same breath.
“I remember one cricket match that was played between India and Pakistan when Vajpayee was in power at the Centre. During the match, the Pakistanis cheered for Indian cricketers while the Indians also applauded the Pakistani players,” she said.
She also referred to former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf’s statement during a post-match presentation ceremony wherein he was all praise for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s hairstyle, and even suggested the Ranchi stumper — who was a rising cricketer then — to not change his hairdo.
Musharraf was present at the stadium during the match which India had won against Pakistan, thanks to Dhoni’s innings.
Mehbooba Mufti, however, expressed displeasure over the way in which a few youth in Agra were recently booked for cheering the Pakistan cricket team, terming it as “wrong”.
“They were booked for sedition (for supporting Pakistan), and no lawyer is willing to represent them in the court. Therefore, I feel that the India of Gandhi is becoming Godse’s India,” she said.
Earlier on Monday, the PDP leader staged a protest at Jantar Mantar in the national capital, demanding that “suppression of people” and “killing of innocent civilians” in Jammu and Kashmir be stopped immediately. -IANS