The president of Awam-i-Itihad political party and MLA Langate Er Rashid has hardly so far supportive to any government decision. He is considered as an ace critic to all the government policies, be it political, economical or developmental. Our senior correspondent Rameez Makhdoomi asks him the reasons for all this. Here are excerpts
What is your take on PDP-BJP government?
The coalition government is a bundle of contradictions and government of controversies and riots.BJP is using shoulders of Mehbooba Mufti to trample the feelings and oppress the voices of Kashmiris .The only work PDP is doing is that it is spreading the agenda of RSS in entire state.
Some of your critics state that you were not as vibrant as ought to be in the recent Handwara agitation over alleged molestation of girl?
I can only laugh at this untrue criticism and information .I was the only MLA visible on ground zero for all five days. I led the first delegation to talks with administration over the issue and as a matter of fact reached Handwara just half an hour after first killing. I led protests from dawn to dusk and got injured in teargas shelling. Even local media outlets acknowledged the fact that my vehicle was the only vehicle plying in the Kupwara district for all five days.
People state your Awam-i-Ittihaad Party is just known by your name and you have not been able to expand it?
I agree with you that Awam-i-Ittihaad Party is by and large known by my name .We are calling on likeminded people to join our party. I started as a lone man in the journey and people came and built the caravan. We will soon build AIP as a strong fort.
My religion calls me to choose lesser evil when we have to choose between evils. The deal I struck with the Congress Party was to make them apologize for the mistake of hanging Afzal Guru which they used to celebrate before that. The deal I struck was to safeguard the Interests of Jammu Muslims by voting for Ghulam Nabi Azad as Jammu Muslims were feeling lot of insecure. If you call these achievements as deal what can I say?
Was Omar a better CM or Mehbooba ?
Kashmiri was getting killed at time of Omer Government and is getting killed today also. During both the times people are being subjected to PSA and torture. Both Omar and Mehbooba have tried to represent Delhi in Kashmir and never represented Kashmir in Delhi and have done nothing in highlighting real issues of Kashmir.
Critics state that being in the pro India politics and talking on Kashmir dispute with an emotional touch, you are playing a friendly match with India and Pakistan?
I do not need license from anybody. As a MLA we here take oath by Jammu and Kashmir constitution not Indian constitution. It was Nehru-first Prime Minister of India who took Kashmir to U.N. and tomorrow as MLA I would have equal rights to participate in plebiscite .So you should credit me for raising political issues while being in mainstream politics.
I want you to highlight these points that first we do take oath that we will not work against integrity of India. When Jammu and Kashmir is not part of India how does it go against the path of integrity, secondly when Nehru did not became traitor by asking for plebiscite in Kashmir how come I.
Thirdly the Assembly has still 25 vacant seats for other side of Kashmir and I do not need certificates from anyone as I have given sacrifices and suffered personally.
You have been criticised for organizing beef party by many calling it communal stunt?
First of all no slaughter took place that day nor did we serve it in dining hall .We just arranged it outside my room. You remember my beef party not the murder of Muslims by fanatic Hindutva elements without reason at different places and there are many places were even Eid Nimaz is disallowed.
Quran allows us to consume beef and our emotions and genuine sentiments are just been ignored. Come to MLA hostel and see yourself wine bottles lying there. Aren’t they playing with our emotions?
Your take on PDP’s clarification on Sainik Colonies?
PDP is doing monkey dance on the whims of central government and can go to any extent. But let me tell you even if they wish to go ahead with proposals like setting up Sainik Colonies, it is possible only over our dead bodies.
You have also generated lot of controversy on Kashmiri Pandit issues .What is your take?
Kashmiri Pandits have time and again called Kashmir as their Matrabhoomi (Motherland) and those who love their motherland should protect it not run like absconders. Kashmiri Pandits have got everything from jobs to packages while as more than 80000 Kashmiri Muslims have died and 200 Kashmiri Pandits only. I do not want to make it competitive match between killings as every innocent killing is killing of humanity but the reality is Kashmiri Muslims have suffered a lot while Pandits have not seen much suffering.
When will your dream Langate hospital become reality?
Langate hospital will be soon inaugurated and it is going to be the fast completed premier hospital of Kashmir.
The interview first appeared in print edition of May 18,2016.