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Enemies will be defeated: Farooq Abdullah

Staff Correspondent

Pune: Union Minister for New and Renewable Energy Farooq Abdullah has appealed to the citizens of Pune to pray for his son, Omar Abdullah, Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, and the people of Kashmir. “My son is fighting a very tough battle. He needs the prayers of every Indian so that he can succeed in this battle to keep us united. The enemies will be defeated; Insha Allah, they will be defeated,” he said.

Dr. Abdullah was here as the chief guest for the inauguration of the Pune Festival, an annual celebration during Ganeshotsav.

Addressing the people of Pune, he said that he realised many people are worried about the violence in Kashmir.

“Many innocent people, including children and security men, have lost their lives. But this is the price we have to pay for unity. There are forces that want to divide us. But Kashmir was and always will be part of India. Those forces who talk of joining Pakistan will be defeated at any cost,” he said.

“We will let them know, we are not wearing bangles. They should know they cannot test our patience any longer. Even our patience has a limit. Do not cross those limits,” he stated amid applause from the people.

“Let us bind each other together. Let not religion blind us,” he said. He also appealed to the people of Pune to “behave like human beings” when the judgment on the Babri Masjid issue is delivered later this month.

“Whatever the judgment is, let us think of India,” he said.

The inauguration was attended by Suresh Kalmadi, founder-chairman of the festival, Revenue Minister Narayan Rane, Forests Minister Patangrao Kadam, Home Minister Ramesh Bagwe and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Harshawardhan Patil.

The celebration started with actor and danseuse Hema Malini presenting “Ganesh Vandana”, a prayer to Lord Ganesh, with her daughters Esha and Aahana and her dance troupe. This was followed by “Maharashtra Geet”, a song in the celebration of the golden jubilee of Maharashtra.

The tradition of Ganesh puja, from the time of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj till today, was brought to life by an audio-visual presentation. Marathi dancers and actors Varsha Usgaonkar, Amruta Khanvilkar, Sonali Kulkarni and Deepali Sayyed presented the folk dance of Maharashtra, the Lavani.

The Pune Festival Award was conferred on singer Pandita Kishori Amonkar, Cyrus Poonawala and Anu Aga for their contribution to the city, and the world.

Kishori Amonkar will give a performance at the festival on September 20.

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