Mehbooba Mufti ‘using dead militants’ to fix image: Omar Abdullah’s swipe over family visit
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah accused his archrival and PDP chief of using “dead militants” trying to “rehabilitate her badly damaged reputation” after the latter made another visit to a slain militant’s home in Srinagar on Thursday.
Mufti, in her second visit to a militant’s home in five days, urged security forces not to harass the families of militants and common people.
“I am sure that our police don’t want to do it, but somehow they are getting directions from somewhere leading to harassment of the families — brothers, sisters or parents, they should not be harassed,” Mufti said after visiting the family of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Mohammad Idress Sultan, an army deserter, at Safanagri in Shopian.
Sultan was killed in an encounter with security forces in November last year. His brother was in police detention for the past four weeks and she urged police to release him.
She said that fighting with militancy was different from dealing with common people. “When I was CM, I had given directions in Manigam to security forces that they should not harass families of militants while fighting militancy. I believe our police are a disciplined force and there should be clear direction from governor that (militants’) families should not be harassed,” she said.
A PDP leader said that Sultan’s brother who is in detention is the sole bread earner and their father is blind.
Omar Abdullah was quick to castigate her actions, saying she was “going from one militant home to the next trying to rehabilitate a badly damaged reputation”, and referred to security operations that killed hundreds of militants during her rule.
“She used militants by sanctioning their deaths to appease the BJP and now she uses dead militants to try to appease the voter. Just how gullible does she think people are?” he asked.
On Sunday, she visited Pulwama district and met a militant’s sister who was allegedly detained by the police for three days in December.
Governor Satya Pal Malik has denied that the woman was harassed by the police.
“It is clarified that there are standing general and specific instructions that have been issued to all police officers and staff on not harassing families of militants. This is being followed meticulously in most circumstances,” the governor had said in a statement.
Mufti’s party PDP had formed a coalition government with the Bharatiya Janata Party in 2015, but BJP withdrew from coalition in June last year, and the state came under governor’s rule.
The elections in Jammu and Kashmir have to be held within six months.
Mufti’s alliance with the BJP has eroded her base after she sought votes in 2014 to keep it out.
She had sought to form the government in the state in alliance with NC and Congress, but the governor dissolved the assembly. The two leaders had then shown a rare camaraderie among the archrivals.