Strong resentment is brewing in the Congress in J&K over the induction of Dooru MLA Ghulam Ahmed Mir in the state cabinet.
Mir, the then minister, was among those arrested by the CBI in the sex racket that rocked Kashmir in 2006 in which girls, including minors, were allegedly forced into prostitution, blackmailed and supplied to politicians, senior bureaucrats, top police officials and even surrendered militants.
However, a special CBI court — the Supreme Court had ordered transferring of the case to Chandigarh on the plea of accused who contended that no lawyer in Srinagar was willing to defend them — recently acquitted Mir and others in the scandal after all the prosecution witnesses turned hostile.
Apart from Mir, former minister Raman Mattoo, senior IAS officer Iqbal Khanday, BSF DIG KC Padhi, former J&K additional advocate general Anil Sethi and nine others were also exonerated in the case.
State Congress leaders are now up in arms over Mir's induction in the Omar Abdullah-led coalition government, arguing that the move will hurt the party's prospects in the next assembly and Lok Sabha elections in 2014.
"Following the nation-wide outrage over the gang rape in Delhi last month, extra caution should have been exercised and it would have been better had anyone with a slightest taint been kept out," a senior leader admitted.
Many in the state Congress described the reshuffle-cum-expansion — that took place after four years —as cosmetic.
Holding state Congress chief Saifuddin Soz responsible for his exclusion, former minister GM Saroori said he should be immediately sacked from the party post.
Kashmir Pandit leaders are also upset as for the first time the state does not have any representation from the community in the government.