Srinagar businessman’s arrest rocks Assembly

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Jammu,Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly today witnessed uproarious scenes after the opposition NC and Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid raised the issue of Bilal Ahmad Kawa, who was arrested on charges of involvement in the 2000 Red Fort attack last week, and demanded a statement from the government.

The issue was raised by Independent MLA Rashid who also trooped into the well of the House. He was supported by the legislators of the National Conference (NC) party.

“Kawa is innocent. Ensure his release,” Rashid said as he referred to the protest by his family members, who, he said, are camping at Lal Chowk in Srinagar for his release.

Speaking on the issue in Assembly, NC MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar told House that both, the police and CID, have given Kawa clean chit on the issue and that he was not involved in militancy.

“About 20 years have passed since the attack on the Red Fort. At that time he (Kawa) was 17 years old,” Sagar said.

Sagar also said that he enquired into the matter on his own, and didn’t find Kawa involved in militancy.

Alluding to the External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj’s quick response for Indians’ facing trouble abroad, the NC general secretary said it is time for the state government to intervene in the same manner for its innocent state-subject.

“An innocent state-subject is arrested and accused of an attack which had happened 17 years ago. There are five instances when innocent Kashmiris had to spent 20 years in jails before getting absolved of the charges and released.

“Their lives and families were ruined,” he said while demanding government’s immediate intervention into the case.

Accusing the state government of being afraid of New Delhi and the Home ministry, Sagar said the state government should ask for Kawa’s release at the earliest.

With MLA Rashid further pressing for a statement from the government on the issue, Parliamentary Affairs Minister A R Veeri said the House would be informed soon on the matter.

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