Jammu and Kashmir firebrand legislator Sheikh Abdul Rashid, who is also known as Engineer Rashid, on Wednesday said the “J-K is not a part of India just like Azad Kashmir is not a part of Pakistan”.
Angry over the “continuous restrictions”on his activities by the police, Rashid alleged that he was being victimised by the Indian state for speaking the truth in the state assembly.
“My every activity is peaceful. If I speak the truth, then why are they stopping me? We want them to resolve the issue of Kashmir and seeking plebiscite is not a crime. I will raise the demand till my death. Even if you hang me, I will still maintain that neither Azad Kashmir is the part of Pakistan nor Jammu and Kashmir is the part of India. Let us go for a plebiscite and let us allow people of Kashmir and Jammu to decide which side of the border they want to go,”Rashid said, while addressing a press conference in Srinagar.
“24 seats are vacant in the J&K assembly (for the areas under Pakistan rule). May be (after plebiscite) they will also join you and we will get a full quorum,”he said, adding, “If seeking plebiscite is a crime then former Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru committed it before me.”
The press briefing by Rashid came a day after he was allegedly restricted to his home by police in Srinagar despite getting an invitation by the state administration to participate in the Republic Day function.
Rashid said he would be sending a letter to the governor of the state describing as to how he really “fells suffocated after becoming an MLA”.
“During the past 6 years as an MLA, I conveyed your good self on a number of occasions as to how security agencies are creating hurdles in my peaceful political activities. However, since last one year the situation seems to have gone from bad to worse due to the reasons best know to the top brasses. It seems to be a well-designed plan to create hurdles in my movement, right to speech and way of working,”he said.
The Langate MLA alleged that he had nothing against police as an institution, but Indian state has been using police to “curb his voice”.
“My request to the governor is to look into the issue otherwise I will be forced to resign from assembly,”he said.
“If you can’t face a single individual like Rashid then how are you advising people to fight elections? You are also saying that we will bring militants to negotiation table, but you are not ready to listen to my genuine voice,”he said, adding that he was humiliated at the hands of police and was not allowed to move places like Chenab Valley, Doda, Kishtwar and other places in Jammu.
“My record is before them. I have never pelted a stone. Not a single youth in my constituency has been booked under Public Safety Act. I told people not to pelt stones and that I will raise your political voices in the assembly. That is why I talk of plebiscite in the assembly. Because I know if a youth of Langate will throw a stone he will get a bullet in return. You check the crime rate of Langate. Nobody is protesting there. No one is booked under the PSA,”he claimed.
The independent MLA alleged that those wanting to negotiate with the government over Kashmir issue had been humiliated by the respective union governments.
“First you asked people holding gun to drop weapons and we will talk to you, then you maligned them. Then you wanted Hurriyat to talk. Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, Yasin Malik and others accepted the invitation, but they were also humiliated. You said that you will talk to Pakistan, but are not ready to talk. You said you will talk to democratically elected government but trashed autonomy and self-rule documents,”he said.
Urging governor NN Vohra to look into the incidents of police interference into his functioning, Rashid said “there seems to be some big conspiracy either to eliminate me or stop me from doing political activities”. “I humbly request your good self to hold an impartial inquiry into all these incidents so that my rights are protected,”he said.