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HindustanTimes Thu,10 Jul 2014

For 6th day, Kashmir legislator behind bars for anti-hanging protest

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, February 14, 2013
First Published: 19:00 IST(14/2/2013) | Last Updated: 20:55 IST(14/2/2013)

For sixth consecutive day, Engineer Rasheed, an independent MLA from north Kashmir's Langate constituency, continues to be behind the bars for taking out a protest march against the hanging of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru.

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"One can get an idea of democracy from the fact that even MLA is prisoned for protests. It forces me to think if it was a right decision to contest polls and be part of the state assembly (in 2008)," Rasheed told the Hindustan Times in a phone interview from Handwara police lines, where he is being detained.

Rasheed, along with his supporters, was arrested on February 9 when he led a procession against the execution of Guru in north Kashmir's Handwara constituency.

He was first MLA in 2011 to submit a resolution before the state assembly to seek clemency for Guru.

"Right to live is supreme and should be respected at all costs.Kashmiris have a right to know why justice is being delayed in case of fake encounters, custodial killings and other human rights abuses when it comes to Kashmir,” he said.

The MLA said he will hold his supporters meeting after his release and discuss whether he should continue as legislator or not.

"The assembly has been reduced to a powerless house. Both ruling as well as opposition MLAs are powerless. New Delhi decides everything and it gives two hoots about emotions of people of Kashmir," he said.

The MLA accused both ruling National Conference and opposition Peoples Democratic Party of sabotaging a clemency resolution moved by him before the assembly.

"None of the parties who are now shedding crocodile's tears supported my clemency appeal then," he said.


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