A day after Union minister for new and renewable energy Farooq Abdullah advocated for opening of cinema and liquor shops to attract tourists, hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Shah Geelani and independent MLA Engineer Rashid took pot shots at Abdullah for "hurting Muslim sensibilities of the state by promoting unIslamic activities".
"Kashmir Valley is an abode of saints and seers. There is no place for liquor shops and cinema halls here...The Abdullah family is responsible for waywardness and several social evils in Kashmir," said Geelani in a statement.
The 82-year-old separatist leader said he was not surpassed by Abdullah's suggestions. "It was the National Conference who in 1978 provided a constitutional cover to liquor in the state assembly. Liquor is at the core of social evils with a potential to damage social and family fabric. Liquor is prohibited in Islam and saints in the valley have been fighting the evil all their lives," said Geelani.
Farooq on Monday said cinemas should open again in Kashmir and liquor shops should be made available to attract tourists. "It poses no threat to Islam," he said.
Responding to Abdullah's "no threat to Islam" statement, Geelani said, "Liquor is main cause for erosion of Muslim identity...Many state in India does not sell liquor and does not impact their economy," said Geelani.
Describing the statement as "unwanted and illogical", independent MLA from north Kashmir's Langate Constituency Engineer Rashid said, "The NC president has hurt the sentiments of people in Kashmir. It goes against the religious and cultural
sensitivities of the people of the Muslim majority state," said Rashid.
Abdullah, Rasheed said, should think twice before vouching for such "devastating suggestions". "The tourists do not come to Kashmir to drink liquor and visit cinemas halls; they come to enjoy the natural beauty of this place," he said.