Azad wants NC leader punished for anti-India remarks


SRINAGAR – Former chief minister of Jammu and Kashmir, senior Congress leader and union minister for Health, Ghulam Nabi Azad Saturday demanded stern action against the National Conference leader and additional general-secretary, Dr Mustafa Kamaal, allegedly for terming India as the “enemy” country of Kashmiris.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of a function at Jammu this morning, Azad rejected the clarifications given by the union New and Renewable Energy minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah, who is also the party president, and his brother, Dr Kamaal, terming the latter’s   utterances as “simply irresponsible.”

“I have seen the compact disc (CD) in which Mustafa Kamaal has clearly said that he (Kamaal) had no hesitation in saying that India is our enemy country, Pakistan is not,” the union minister said, adding there was no question whatsoever of the controversial statement having been torn out of context as claimed later by Dr Kamaal, whose statement had even shocked his nephew chief minister, Omar Abdullah.

“He deserves to be punished for his remarks,” Azad added.  

“I condemn his remarks and urge the National Conference to take action against the leader whose party is in power in Jammu and Kashmir,” the health minister said, adding the party was heading the coalition dispensation with Congress support.

Condemning Dr Kamaal’s statement, Azad said describing the armed forces as inimical was totally unjust and unfortunate. Giving figures, he said over 5,000 security forces, including 3,873 soldiers and paramilitary personnel, besides 1,400 police personnel, had been killed in the combat operations against militants during the past over two decades. “The troopers drawn from various states across the country and guarding our frontiers, including the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen, were not here to buy lands or secure jobs. They are from every community,” Azad said.

He admitted that the security forces had been involved in gross human rights violations, but the government, notably the one headed by him as chief minister of the state, had taken prompt cognizance of such abuses and of the fake encounters carried out for rewards and accelerated promotions, and even punished the guilty.

Azad said though such incidents were apt to happen in the situation obtaining in the state, there was no denying thousands of innocent people had also been killed because of the militancy over the past two decades.

It may be recalled that in his speech, Kamaal had said: “Pakistan had offered a no-war pact with India. Why does India not agree to it? If India carries on with such attitude, then I have no hesitation in saying that our (Kashmiris’) biggest enemy is our own country, not Pakistan.”

Later, after the statement stirred an uproar from the coalition partner, Congress, the National Conference leader, Kamaal had claimed his statement had been blown out of proportion and blamed the media for the controversy.

“My history is known to everyone, my family’s legacy and my political career of several decades is testimony to my credentials and today you call Mustafa Kamal anti-national. It deeply hurts me, what I said has been blown out of context,” he said. (With inputs from KMN and Agencies)

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