Slamming new and renewable energy minister Farooq Abdullah over "insulting" Kashmiris in a statement made to a newspaper, the opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) staged a walk out after protesting for nearly half an hour in the assembly on Monday.
As soon as the proceedings for the day started, PDP members stood up expressing their strong objection to Abdullah's remarks "against" Kashmiris and demanded an apology from him.
Holding a newspaper carrying the statement made by Abdullah, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti accused him of insulting Kashmiris.
This prompted National Conference (NC) members to stand up from their seats, objecting Mufti for taking Abdullah's name.
In the meantime, independent MLA Engineer Rashid, while expressing displeasure over Abdullah's remarks,
trooped in the well of the House.
Taking a dig at the PDP, rural development minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said: "It's entirely wrong. It's PDP's propaganda against Farooq Abdullah. They (PDP) are levelling false and baseless allegations for petty political gains."
Intervening into the matter, speaker Mubarak Gul told PDP members that Abdullah was not present in the House and neither could he defend himself.
Notwithstanding the speaker's statement, the PDP members huddled up in the front row and shouted slogans against Abdullah.
However, sharpening her attack against Abdullah, Mufti questioned: "Who has taken money from Haji Yousuf; who has taken kickbacks in the Jammu Kashmir Cricket Association (JKCA) scam and who has sold state power projects to the Centre?"
The sloganeering PDP members demanded from Abdullah to withdraw his statement "against Kashmiris". This led to a heated exchange of words between PDP members and Sagar.
Taking strong exception to the PDP's barb, Sagar said: "He (Abdullah) is a Kashmiri and will always remain so. You (PDP) are the killers of Kashmiris."
This prompted the speaker to ask the PDP members not take Abdullah's name. "Do not take the name of the
person, who is not a member of the House", he said.
However, the PDP MLAs charged their NC counterparts with being corrupt and trooped to the well of the House.
Defending Abdullah, minister of state (MoS) for public health engineering (PHE) Nazir Gurezim, said, "He has never made any such statement. But you (PDP) are wittingly making him accused."
Launching a counter-offensive, higher education minister Mohammad Akbar Lone dubbed the PDP as "militant" and "traitors".
However, after lodging their protest for little over half an hour, the PDP members walked out of the House.
Speaker said, "No one can doubt Abdullah's integrity, whose family had made a lot of sacrifices for the state."
Later, the speaker directed marshalls to take Engineer Rashid out of the House, who was strongly protesting over the issue.
Talking to reporters outside the House, Mufti said, "Abdullah should tender an unconditional apology to Kashmiris. He has abused every citizen of the state. How can the NC be so shameless? They are the patrons of corruption in the state and now calling Kashmiris thieves. It is outright shameless. They have derided the same people of Kashmir, who have been electing them since1947."
Meanwhile, interacting with reporters on the sidelines of a function, Abdullah denied that he had ever called Kashmiris thieves. He said he was "misquoted" by the newspaper.
He clarified that he had only said that there was theft of electricity and transmission losses in the state, which was the reason that they were buying power worth Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 crore and was getting less money from the people.