Peoples Democratic Party president Mehbooba Mufti has a poser for Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who has been asserting that the problem of stone pelting was confined to five police stations in the summer capital city of Srinagar.
“ Which party won all the eight Assembly seats in Srinagar,” Mehbooba asked in an interview with Hindustan Times on Friday.
And she is quick to answer: “ It was chief minister‘s party National Conference that won all the seats in December 2008 Assembly elections.”
Mehbooba Mufti who has made stone pelting as an issue and termed it as a reflection of the disenchantment of the people of the state, said: “It’s all the more reason for the government to do a self introspection as to why the stone pelters are active in Srinagar, which had proved to be a formidable constituency for National Conference in the elections.”
Excerpts from the interview
Q. NC has blamed PDP, and in particular you, for launching a campaign against the Abdullahs, caricaturing them as “ three idiots” on Facebook and then circulating SMSs about it.
A. I think this a diversionary tactics by National Conference. “First of all, let me put the facts as those are: I received an SMS from someone saying that he had received an SMS saying that there was something about Abdullahs on the facebook. I forwarded that SMS to some of my colleagues, and when I got a call from newsman that he had received this sms from me, I told him that it might have gone by mistake to him. I swear I have not even seen it.
Q. But NC believed that you had done it.
A. Let the government probe and find out the person or persons who did it and get them booked under law of the land. I don’t understand that what is there to get worked up. There are cartoons, puppet shows and so many times we are mocked at. I think National Conference is raking up this non-issue only to divert attention from the real issues facing the state, ration shortage, erratic power supply, unemployment and so on.”
Q. CM has said that there is no trace of Rs 2000 crore that Centre gave to the Centre when PDP was ruling the state from 2002-2005.
A. “ I would suggest that Chief Minister should bring out a whitepaper on it. The money which was received, spent and unspent and where did it go.
Q. You alleged that government has raised a counter stone pelters force, but the government has challenged you to prove this charge.
A.There are two kinds of stone pelters-one who react to a particular situation in a spontaneous manner, and the other who are arranged. Now it is clear that the government action is selective. I am talking about the arranged ones. How the stone pelters were traveling in two Sumo vehicles and dragging people out and stoning the vehicles. Normally, the police chase the stone throwers, why in this case ( the killing of Irfan, an 11-day old infant in the stone pelting), the law and order agencies were not to be seen.”
Q. It would damage the government’s image too, if they do so.
A. This time they have gone too far..
Q. Is it a game of personal point scoring?
A. “ It is not something between Omar and me. During our rule we never blamed National Conference for the problems that arose that time. But NC is focusing all its energy on us, blaming us for everything. Omar should understand that we began a process of reconciliation with good governance and political process, where bullets were replaced by ballots.
It is a period of transition and the government should try to work and consolidate on what we have done, not squander that away. He should be thankful to us and (Ghulam Nabi) Azad sahib for all the development works, under Prime Minister Reconstruction Plan, Mughal Road, universities and Economic Reconstruction Agency were started during our government.”