Union Minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah’s statement describing Kashmiris as “maha chors” (big thieves),while referring to the rising incidents of power theft in the state, has ignited a firestorm of criticism, with calls for him to tender an unqualified apology. Releasing the ‘Citizens Report on the State of Renewable Energy’ at a function in New Delhi on Saturday,Farooq had reportedly said,”Kashmiri chor nahi, maha chor hai” (Kashmiris are not just thieves, they are the biggest thieves).
Flaying the remark, Opposition PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday told the state Assembly that Farooq had hurt the sentiments of the Kashmiri people.
“This is not the first time that the NC leadership has defamed the people, who have been voting them to power, but they have always been at the forefront of the smear campaign both within and outside the state. They (NC leaders) term people, who raise voice against them, anti-nationals and they have demonised our youth as drug addicts, LeT agents and criminals,” she said.
According to the PDP leader, the NC had been making hollow promises to the voters for over 60 years with the sole aim of exploiting them for its political ends.
”Be it in 1975 or 1996, the NC had always betrayed the people and compromised their interests and self-respect for the sake of power,” Mehbooba said.
Independent legislator from Langate in Kupwara Sheikh Abdur Rashid, who also heads the Awami Ittihaad Party(AIP), said Farooq’s statement had hurt the sentiments and feelings of Kashmiris. “Farooq should tender an unconditional apology. He should not forget that whatever status he has is on account of the unprecedented favours of the Kashmiri nation.
People in Kashmir had even sold their personal property for the Abdullah dynasty. Who is the biggest thief– Farooq, who is accused in multi-crore JKCA scam, or the people of Kashmir for trusting the NC leaders?” he said.
The moderate faction of the Hurriyat Conference led by cleric Mirwaiz Umar termed Farooq’s remarks “insulting” and “disgraceful” for the Kashmiri people.
Meanwhile, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Tuesday organised a protest march in Srinagar against certain controversial remarks made by Union Minister Farooq Abdullah.
Dozens of PDP activists took out the march in Regal Chowk here.