DISGRACE

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PDP members staging a walkout – Photo by: Bilal Bahadur

The political drama that unfolded right from day one of Budget session in J&K Assembly displayed how low politicians in J&K can stoop. Kashmir Life reports the happenings and the fall-outs of the crisis.

On Tuesday morning the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) leader Muzaffar Baig made a long speech about the abuse of power and absence of justice on the floor of state assembly. The last few sentences of his speech revealed it to be a Machiavellian weapon aimed at political gain, and not the musings of a jurist concerned about bringing justice to Kashmiris abused by the state. Baig ended his pretence of concern for the victims of the 2006 sex abuse scandal by saying what he had come there to say: accusing that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s name figured on a “list” of people involved in that scandal.

A bomb seemed to have exploded. Nobody spoke for a minute. Legislators froze in their seats. Nobody spoke a word for a while. Omar Abdullah fell back in his seat, his face turning to a shocked pale. Then the NC legislators broke out of the spell, surrounded their leader, and whirlwind of chaos ripped through the house. Omar tried to rise from his seat and respond. They held him back.

Finally, Omar collected himself and they relented. Omar rose to speak, “I never imagined we will fall so low. They have been hinting at what they have alleged for some time now. A man is innocent under law till he is proven guilty. This house might expunge these accusing words from the records, this house might get the home ministry to investigate these allegations against me, but the stigma of these words will remain. I would be unable to hold office if I have to live with this stigma. I am leaving now to submit my resignation to the governor.”

Another shock followed. NC legislators won’t allow Omar leave the house. “If you want me to ever sit in this chair, allow me to do what I want to,” he insisted.

Not even Muzaffar Baig, as he later said, expected Omar Abdullah to react with a resignation. Even the omniscient state police intelligence had not known about the PDP plan of attack. All that the police intelligence knew was that the PDP legislators had met at the residence of PDP patron Mufti Sayeed on Tuesday morning.

Omar left the assembly and headed home. After meeting with NC leaders, friends, and father Farooq Abdullah, he drove to the Raj Bhawan and submitted a conditional resignation. “I would be grateful, if you could enquire into the allegations against me in a time bound manner and if you are satisfied that there is any basis in these allegations please accept my resignation immediately,” Omar wrote in the letter he gave the governor.

Home Minister P Chidambaram defended Omar arguing that Abdullah junior does not figure in the nine charge-sheets that CBI filed in the 2006 sex abuse scandal and that the CBI has concluded the case. The next day, NC attacked back, moving a breach of privilege motion against Baig; the speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone instantly admitted it. “Since I have accepted the motion against you, I can not permit you to speak,” Speaker Lone ruled. The ruling coalition offered Baig a taste of his own medicine, placing on record six questions by its legislator Nazir Gurezi that accused Baig of liaisons with some high profile women. The speaker has said Baig could be “disqualified from the session and will lose his seat” if the allegation is proved.

On Thursday, governor N N Vohra, pronounced his judgement after assessing home ministry inputs: Omar is innocent. NC workers broke into celebrations; Omar offered prayers at the holy shrines of Hazratbal and Mukhdoom Sahib. PDP was not ready to believe it was over. They insist that Omar Abdullah’s name figures in a list of people involved in the sex abuse scandal that the J&K high court division bench investigating the scandal said has not been investigated by the CBI. “The role of CBI is in question so it can not issue a clean chit,” Baig told a news conference. And PDP remained sceptical of the decision by the governor. “How can the governor give a clean chit without a proper investigation?” said PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, “What the CBI, the J&K and the Haryana high courts could not do in past four years, the Raj Bhavan has accomplished in just 48 hours.”

Across political ideologies and affiliations PDP’s allegations against Omar Abdullah and the crisis it has created, is seen as having a highly negative effect on Kashmir—both on the movement forward when it comes to justice in the Shopian case and also on any potential

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