It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
PDP hurls sex bomb in House, Omer escapes unhurt
NASEER A GANAI
Srinagar, July 28: Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Omar Abdullah, was calmly listening to the Peoples Democratic Party member, Muzaffar Husain Baig’s speech during zero hour in the Legislative Assembly Tuesday morning. The former deputy chief minister spoke about the Shopian incident and the government’s failure to respond to the situation arising out of the rape and murder of two young women. However, before concluding, Baig referred to the sexual exploitation case that had hit the state in 2006. In the sexual exploitation case senior pro-India politicians, police officer, security officers were involved in exploiting girls. The High Court Bar Association had termed it as war crime against people of Kashmir struggling for right to self-determination.There was pin drop silence in the House. The chief minister was taking down notes for his reply. But soon everything changed.
Baig said the CBI had produced a list of over 100 people involved in the sexploitation case. He passed on the list to the speaker, Muhammad Akbar Lone. And, before Lone could go through it, Baig threw a bombshell. “I have to say with regret, there is the name of Omar Abdullah son of Farooq Abdullah in the list. He figures at serial number 102. He has lost the moral authority to rule the state. He must resign,” he said and sat down.The allegation stunned the House. It took some time to the treasury benches to regain composure. Till then the PDP legislators led by the party president, Mehbooba Mufti, were on their toes chanting: “Ek Sau Do, Ek Sau Do (102, 102).”
At this, a visibly shocked parliamentary affairs minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar, shouted at the PDP members who, however, remained unmoved. “This is not new. The PDP leaders can go any extent,” Sagar said while several National Conference members joined him. The speaker intervened to say that the chief minister had a right of rebuttal. However, the PDP members walked out of the House without waiting for the chief minister’s response. Shell shocked and visibly restless, Omar wanted to speak and respond to the allegation but was prevented by several members. Meanwhile, the NC member, Nazir Ahmad Gurazi, was allowed by the speaker to speak after several members urged the latter to give him a chance. “It was unexpected of Baig,” Gurazi said. He leveled personal allegations against Baig. “He has no character and he indulges in character assassination of the person of Omar Abdullah. Baig is the worst human being I have ever seen,” Gurazi said. At this, the speaker observed, “Baig’s speech on human rights violations was about to bring tears in our eyes. But, being a lawyer, he took us towards the issue that was not related to the topic.” Lone said he would seek information (about the allegations) from the central government, the Home Department and would initiate action against Baig. “Baig has hurt us and the chief minister,” he said. However, the sympathetic words were no balm for the hurt chief minister. Omar stood up again but was again forced to take his seat by the visibly agitated coalition members. He got up again and shouted at them, “allow me to take this first step.” “I never knew they (PDP) will stoop so low,” Omar said. “Finally, they have blurted out the thing towards which they were pointing for years on. I know what has been said is mere allegation, and it is false. And the law is that man is not guilty until proven so. This maxim might be true about murders and robbery. But in case of this allegation leveled against me it has reverse meaning. Here I am guilty until proven innocent. The allegation is a blot on my character. I want to resign till I am cleared of this false allegation. I cannot work till I am proved innocent. Whether any remarks are expunged or enquiries made by the Home Department is immaterial. Till I am able to prove my innocence, I am going to tender my resignation to the governor,” an emotional Omar said. The statement shocked his party MLAs and ministers. They rushed towards him to prevent him from leaving the House. While several members were grappling with the chief minister urging him to resume his seat, the speaker adjourned the House. Interestingly, during the question hour earlier, Baig was not allowed to speak by the speaker at which there was some commotion in the House. The Parliamentary Affairs minister, Ali Muhammad Sagar, intervened to assure Baig that he would be given chance to speak after the question hour. This had satisfied the opposition and they had allowed the smooth conduct of business during the question hour. Baig commenced his speech on a different note saying that for the past 20 years a number of incidents had taken place in the state. However, over the past few years, militancy had taken a back seat and democracy had struck roots. People had pinned hope in the prime minister Manmohan Singh’s assurance about zero tolerance for human rights violations but unabated rights abuses had disillusioned them. Baig talked about the killings at Bomai, Gopkhar and Aloochibagh describing Shopian as the most tragic incident. He said the chief minister was fed wrongly by the police when he stated the women had drowned in the stream. ‘The chief minister is chief minister. He may be young or old, he may be experienced or inexperienced but he is responsible for each of his statement,” Baig said. Following the statement, Baig said, people took to streets and “secessionists and protagonists of violence joined them.” He said the chief minister could have taken the responsibility of his statement and named and punished the official for feeding him with wrong information. “Whosoever he was, whether the director-general of police, the DG CID or the IGP, he has no right to hold the office,” Baig said, adding the police officer responsible for misleading the CM must be punished. “The CM should apologize to people,” he said. Baig continued. “Hundreds of women have been subjected to sexual assault over the years. But they remained silent fearing social stigma,” he said, adding that in Shopian when people saw the bruised bodies of the women and realized they had been murdered to destroy the evidence, they came out to protest. Instead of the chief minister visiting Shopian, Baig said, the NC-led government tried to harm the PDP president, Mehbooba Mufti, when she visited the town. He accused the NC of releasing Hurriyat Conference leader, Moulvi Tariq, on the same day to harm the PDP president. The allegations were promptly denied by Sagar on the floor of House. But Sagar allowed Baig to complete his speech. Baig said the chief minister was the highest authority in the state because of which no police official could dare to register a case of murder and rape after his statement that the women had drowned. “Even though the Justice Jan Commission pointed towards the involvement of police officers, they were not arrested,” Baig said, adding the mainstream political parties should inspire confidence among people. Suddenly, Baig took everyone by surprise by mentioning the sexual exploitation case which had led to massive protests in 2006. “When the sexual exploitation case hit the state during the chief minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad’s time, he (Azad) wrote to him (Baig) and sought inquiry into the matter by the Central Bureau of Investigation,” Baig said. He said the charge sheet was presented in the court and 25 people involved in the case were named in the CBI charg sheet. Baig said the CBI prepared another list of over 100 people involved in the case. He handed over the list to the speaker. However, he said, the CBI had not presented the charge sheet on the list, suggesting that it was still investigating the case. Before concluding his speech, Baig threw the bombshell at which the chief minister announced his resignation and left the House.
HIGHLIGHTS • “Whosoever misled the chief minister, Omar Abdullah, on Shopian, whether he was the director-general of police, the DG CID or the IGP, he has no right to hold the office,” Baig in LA. • Speaker Lone to Baig and Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari: “I know both of you. I know you Moulvi, I know you. You had come to my constituency to defeat me; you tried your best but failed.” • Speaker Lone to Mehbooba: “Tum Kis Bagh Ki Mooli Ho” • Restore democracy: BJP slogans in LA • NC released Hurriyat Conference leader Moulvi Tariq on the day Mehbooba visited Shopian to harm the PDP president, Baig. • “Secessionists and protagonists of terrorism join the protests to further their own agenda when any incident takes place. The pro-India parties have responsibility to take the issues of people and don’t give room to secessionists,” Baig. • Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone to Iftikhar Ansari: “Tax Choir and Ga……..”
Day after, Baig silenced
Naseer A Ganai
Srinagar, July 30: Yesterday, the treasury benches stalled every move of former Deputy Chief Minister and PDP legislator Muzaffer Hussain Baig to speak up. There was reason for it.
Baig is one of best speaker in the Assembly and it is he who dropped political bomb shell charging the chief minister Omer Abdullah of being named by Centre Bureau of Investigation as accused in sexual exploitation case after he was allowed by NC to speak up. They realized the mistake only when Baig had completed his speech. He was praising pro-India parties until he dropped the sex bomb shocking everyone in the House.
So when the session began early in the morning, the NC and Congress legislators moved a privilege motion against Baig. The speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone allowed the motion but said he would decide about it after its examination. Baig insisted that he should be allowed to speak in response to the breach of privilege motion moved by the NC and the Congress legislators. The speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone relented and asked the treasury benches that they should allow Baig to speak. But Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Muhammad Sagar and legislator Nisar Hussain Wani strongly opposed to it and created ruckus in the Assembly.
The speaker however said, “Since Baig has leveled allegation against the chief minister, I allow any one of you (treasury benches) to speak on the issue and then Baig should respond to it,” he said. However NC strongly opposed it and stalled Baig’s move to speak.
Meanwhile, the speaker amidst pandemonium adjourned the House for half an hour which he later extended upto 3 p.m.
At 3 p.m the Assembly was convened again, again Baig sought time to respond to the privilege motion. Mehbooba Mufti shouted that the NC was orchestrating attacks on its members Iftikhar Hussain Ansari and Muzaffer Hussain Baig and creating Shia-Sunni clashes in the State. The statement evoked strong reaction from MLA Budgam Aga Ruhullah. Aga accused PDP president of fanning the trouble in the State and said an individual has nothing to do with the community. He said PDP being bereft of any issue was raising “issue after issue.”
However, the speaker stepped in and directed the Government to provide all kind security to Iftikhar Hussain Ansari and Muzaffer Hussain Baig. To this, Sagar said the government was responsible for safety and security of every individual including the legislators. He said government would take care of their property and their life.
The issue settled, the PDP again sought permission from the Chair for Baig to speak up. But the Speaker this time said that Baig would be allowed to speak up when the privilege motion would be brought for the discussion. He said he would issue the formal notice and at that time members would be allowed to speak up on the issue. Baig however shot back. He told Speaker that if he has admitted the motion against him then he should explain under which rule he was debarring him from responding to the motion. “Inform me whether it was constitutional powers or procedural code under,” Baig said. But the NC legislators led by Sagar shouted and didn’t allow Baig to speak. Baig shouted back, and this time loudly: “In the list there is name of Omer Abdullah and if you don’t allow me to speak, I won’t allow your Chief Minister to speak.” He didn’t stop there. “You lured young girls to your bedrooms promising them employment. Shame on you,” Baig said. Mehbooba shouted that all the case dairies lying in the Court should be produced before this House. “And then we shall see whose name figures there,” she said. In response, Sagar described PDP, anti-people, anti-Jammu and anti Ladakh and anti State. The NC legislators continued to stall every move of the Baig to speak up in the House forcing PDP to walk out. Faces of NC legislators lit with happiness when they saw PDP members out of the legislature.
*Microphone bias: NC legislators Nasir Hussain Wani and Nazir Gurazi were angry on the floor coordinator when they saw microphones of Mehbooba Mufti and Muzaffar Hussain Baig on. Both Wani and Gurazi repeatedly pointed towards the floor manager asking them how he was keeping the microphones on when there is pandemonium in the House. There was more trouble for the floor manager. A security officer of Assembly was pointing to him to on the microphone of BJP MLA when both PDP and NC were shouting at each other.
*When MLA Bandipora joined Mehbooba in protest for not allowing Muzaffer Hussain Baig to speak and started shouting, the Speaker said, “I know you are LLB fail.”