Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah sparred in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Monday as the House witnessed noisy scenes over the issue of setting up of Sainik Colony in the Valley.
Accusing the opposition and some media outlets of raising a “non-issue” which can lead to disruption of peace in the state, Mehbooba lashed out Omar for his tweets but the former Chief Minister hit back, saying it was to make her accountable and he won’t back down from speaking on issues of public interest through the social media.
“My small tweets prick you. Your mood gets spoiled. If I make you accountable by tweeting, I will continue it. I won’t stop and I won’t apologise for it,” Omar said.
The issue of proposed colony for armed forces personnel was raised by Independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rasheed. Waving a copy of the newspaper, the legislator stormed into the well of the House, seeking a statement from the Government on the issue.
“Last time the Chief Minister said there was no Sainik Colony being set up in the Valley and now we have this report. What is the truth?” he asked.
An agitated Mehbooba said there was no truth in the story as the photograph published in the newspaper was that of Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry (JAKLI) quarters being constructed for married serving personnel of the unit.
“I do not know what these newspapers want? Do they want to put the state on fire? They should have investigated before publishing the story.
“The opposition members bring in these newspapers which I will not name as they want to get publicity. If anyone tries to disrupt peace, they will be dealt with sternly,” Mehbooba said.
Targeting Omar, she said despite having been in the chair earlier, he has been tweeting about the issue. “Omar Abdullah attended four meetings (of the Sainik Board as CM) and in all four meetings, he directed that land be identified for setting up of the Sainik Colony.
“Now, there is tweet, tweet, tweet,” she said about the former chief minister frequently using the social media to put forth his opinions.
The opposition benches protested against the Chief Minister’s outburst saying everything was not media created.
Responding to Mehbooba’s charge, Omar said he has never denied being part of the meetings for setting up of Sainik Colony but had never passed any order like the one he had posted on twitter earlier last month. “If there is any such order issued during my tenure, please bring it forth. If you are here for welfare of the people, I am also here so that people are benefited,” he said.
“I think when the Chief Minister is talking about setting the state on fire, she is confusing herself with me. My tenure is witness…. If we follow your footsteps, the state will be on fire,” Omar said. The NC leader said he will continue to raise such issues.
The Chief Minister said she was not occupying the chair for pleasure. “Whether I stay in the chair for two days or two years, I will not allow anyone to play with the people of the state.”
Mehbooba last week made a statement in the Assembly that the government had not identified any land for setting up a sainik colony in Kashmir.
She said even if any such colony is set up, it would be only for retired soldiers who are permanent residents of the state as provided under the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir.
Omar has opposed the setting up of the proposed colony, saying “it could be a ruse to settle non-state subjects in Kashmir and hence bypass Article 370”.
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