Srinagar, For the first time in the legislative history of Jammu and Kashmir, mainstream legislators praised the role of Hizbul Mujahideen commander and United Jihad Council (UJC) chief, Syed Salahuddin, and former Hizbul commander Zakir Musa. In what led to a ruckus in the Legislative Assembly, Independent MLA from Langate, Engineer Rashid, said that both Salahuddin and Musa were not terrorists and that India was “illegally’’ occupying Kashmir, which also drew support from the National Conference.
Never before have Salahuddin and Musa got support from mainstream political parties. Earlier, PDP had sought self-rule and representation from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir when it was in power with Congress between 2002 and 2008 and subsequently in Opposition, during the tenure of Omar Abdullah-led NC-Congress coalition government.
PDP MLA Javid Beg reacted sharply to Rashid’s statement followed by BJP members demanding Rashid’s suspension. An enraged Rashid tried to storm the Well of the House. However, members of the BJP continued to protest. Later, when Speaker Kavinder Gupta ordered security staff to take Rashid out, NC members including former speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone came to Rashid’s support. NC MLAs including Pahalgam MLA Altaf Kaloo attacked the security staff of the Assembly. The Speaker was forced to adjourn the Legislative Assembly.
Rashid said that Salahuddin were not terrorists, but those “encouraging terrorism were inside the assembly.’’ “You have been accusing Musa and Salahuddin as terrorists but the world should know that the real terrorists and intolerants are in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly.’’
Pointing at BJP, Rashid said, “You people have not only been killing Kashmiris but Indians also in the name of cows and all your efforts to dilute the disputed character of Jammu and Kashmir will be dealt with strongly.’’
Rashid said that the people of Kashmir should be given the right to self-determination as promised by the United Nations, a stand which has also been espoused by separatists and Pakistan. Beg slammed Rashid and accused him of using a “dual approach’’. Rashid also accused the PDP and BJP lawmakers of trying to manhandle him and of threatening to hang him on the road. Coming to his rescue, Akbar Lone warned the BJP and PDP MLAs of consequences “ if they dared to hurt him.’’ Rashid’s statement that India would be perished due to its Kashmir policy drew sharp reaction from BJP MLAs, including state president Sat Paul Sharma.
One of the members even said that Rashid “deserved to be hanged for his anti-India ideology”. Rashid further said, “The GST crisis has exposed Indian claims that Jammu and Kashmir is India’s integral part. Jammu and Kashmir is not India and India is not Jammu and Kashmir. The state is neither an integral part nor Pakistan’s jugular vein, but the territory on both sides including Gilgit-Baltistan is a disputed territory and hollow claims cannot make it an integral part of anything.’’