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HindustanTimes Fri,01 Aug 2014

Afzal issue emerging as major poll plank

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times   Srinagar, April 09, 2013
First Published: 18:37 IST(9/4/2013) | Last Updated: 18:39 IST(9/4/2013)

Kashmir's mainstream political parties, ruling National Conference (NC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), are harping on Afzal Guru, executed for his role in the Parliament attack, to make inroads into separatist constituency in a crucial year ahead of the assembly polls next year.

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"The NC hanged Maqbool Bhat (founder of separatist JKLF) and Guru. It is trying to use the demand for the return of their mortal remains for its election campaign. It also hanged raishumari (plebiscite movement) in 1975 and autonomy in 2000 to stay in power on most humiliating terms," alleged PDP president Mehbooba Mufti in Srinagar on Tuesday.

Guru, who was hanged and buried on February this year, is fast emerging as election plank for both the major political parties.

Two days ago, ruling National Conference held its coordination committee meeting in Jammu, which was chaired by NC president Farooq Abdullah. The two-day significant NC meet, attended by its stalwarts, expressed "deep anguish over the denial of the opportunity to the family of Guru of meeting him before his execution". The ruling party reiterated its demand for the return of the mortal remains of Guru as well as Bhat, hanged in 1984 inside Tihar Jail, to the bereaved family.

Unnerved by NC's separatist tone aimed at garnering support from separatist constituency, PDP's senior leader Iftikhar Ansari went a step ahead. "Never on earth Guru would have been hanged if the PDP had been in power. If it would have happened we would have changed the political map of India," said Ansari.

The desperation on part of mainstream political parties are obvious from the Omar Abdullah's uncle Mustafa Kamal, a senior NC leader, new balloon saying "it won't shy away from seeking support from moderate Hurriyat led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq".

"There was no justification whatsoever for the separatists to hate the NC. We are trying our best to bring New Delhi to the negotiating table and involve separatists," he said.

Reacting sharply to NC's move to cosy up to separatists, Mehbooba said, "To shore up its political fortunes, the NC is up to its old games...Scams are tumbling out of the government closet everyday. The chief minister and Farooq Abdullah have lost moral and political authority to ask questions about anybody's integrity as both of them face serious charges which could have led anybody else to jail."

Mehbooba was referring to Haji Yousuf's death case and the cricket scam that haunted NC stalwarts during its current reign of the state.


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