Even as terrorists and their sympathisers came out in large numbers to attend the funeral of three terrorists killed by security forces on Friday, the political class in Jammu and Kashmir was united — in not attending the wreath-laying ceremonies for the six J&K Police bravehearts martyred over the past two days.
And, to make matters worse, while leaders of the ruling PDP-BJP combine took recourse to lame excuses to explain why none of its front-ranking leaders, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, didn’t attend the ceremony, terrorists who attended the funeral of the dead terrorists fired guns in the air to show their defiance.
While the wreath-laying ceremony of the five cops, including the Station House Officer (SHO) of Achabal Police Station Feroz Ahmad Dar, was held in south Kashmir late on Friday evening, the same for constable Tasveer Ahmad was held in the District Police Lines, Srinagar, on Saturday.
Incidentally, the District Police Lines, Srinagar, is just 200 metres away from the Legislative Assembly, where all leaders, including Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, were present for the special session.
At both places, no politician bothered to turn up for the ceremonies.
“The Assembly is in session. Politicians must have been there. We were in the Assembly. Definitely these people will go to the families and offer condolences on the deaths. But some people should have been there,” said Deputy CM Singh.
State BJP president Sat Sharma, who is also an MLA, said his party had paid tributes to all the fallen soldiers and cops in the Assembly. “We were in the Assembly. We paid tributes in both Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council,” he said.
Facing flak for skipping the wreath-laying ceremony, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti chose to speak in the Legislative Assembly, blamed the rigged Assembly elections of 1987 for the ongoing turmoil.
“We see policemen getting killed. The young and smart SHO and five others were killed. The basic reason for this is that democracy was denied here. The way the democracy was throttled in the elections of 1987. Syed Salahudin (Hizbul Mujahedeen chief), who gives directions from Pakistan, and Yasin Malik (JKLF chief) are the same people who went to Pakistan (for arms training) after democracy was throttled in 1987 elections,” Mehbooba claimed.
Building a fresh case for holding talks, Mehbooba said guns couldn’t solve any issue. “Talks are the only way forward. Whether you get fighter jets or other things, unless we talk, the issue cannot be resolved. Let us work together, find a common cause and take it forward,” she said.
The National Conference, however, lambasted Mehbooba Mufti and Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Nirmal Singh for disrespecting the martyred policemen by not participating in the wreath laying ceremony held by J&K Police.
“It was shameful the Chief Minister, who also happens to be the Home Minister, didn’t not participate in the wreath laying ceremony. Nobody from the State Government participated in the ceremony and this shows the duplicity and utter lack of empathy that this Government is now identified with,” said Junaid Azim Mattu, National Conference spokesperson.
On the other hand, terrorists appeared at three different places and offered gun salutes to Lashkar-e-Toiba militants – Junaid Matoo, Nasir Wani and Adil Mushtaq – during their funeral. The trio were killed in a fierce encounter with security forces at Arwani village on Friday.
“Junaid was district commander and involved in a number of terror activities. Nasir Wani had joined the militancy last year and was involved in terrorist activities in the area. Adil had also joined the militancy last year,” said a police spokesman.