Jammu and Kashmir's separatist leader Yasin Malik was heckled by a group of Kashmiri Pandits at the three-day India-Pakistan peace conference in New Delhi on Monday.
Malik, the chief of the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), was about to deliver his address on the roadmap to solving the Kashmir issue when some migrants Hindus objected and said, “The terrorist shouldn't be allowed to speak.”
As the media watched, the dozen-odd protesters hurled abuses at Malik and accused him of raping and murdering a Hindu girl and escaping prosecution because of his political clout.
Amid the commotion, Malik, a former militant commander who gave up arms in 1994 for political struggle, denied the allegations.
“I won't wait for a court trial. Hang me here, right here if you prove that I have raped or killed the nurse. Tell me when did it happen. Give me the date,” an angry Malik said.
The protesters also accused the pro-independence leader of masterminding the exodus of some 300,000 Hindus who form the largest minority in the only Muslim majority state of India.
"I have been wanting that migrant Kashmiri Pandits should return to their homeland. It is my wish. We are incomplete without them. They are our blood. But some vested interests keep these weeping boys active in Delhi to stop us from raising our concerns," Malik told IANS.
Despite repeated assurances that they would be allowed to make a point and speak, the protesters refused to yield. Police already at the venue whisked them away to restore peace at the auditorium of the India International Centre (IIC).
“This is an open forum. You have every right to speak. But learn to behave properly," said Rajendra Sachar, a former Supreme Court judge and one of the organisers.
The three-day conference 'India Pakistan conference - A road map towards peace' started on Sunday. Prominent people from the two countries are attending it.