Engineer Abdul Rashid

   

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By his attire he never looks like a legislator. His talking gives an impression of a man in a hurry. But he is a democratically elected Member legislative Assembly.

The flamboyant MLA, Engineer Abdul Rashid, always takes up issues which others shy away from.  Engineer Rashid often makes it to the headlines, though he is just an independent legislator and does not have any ministry or portfolio.

The MLA garnered a lot of sympathy and some fans when he took up the case of forced labour, locally called Begaar, in Kashmir. That has been a painful aspect of Kashmir’s past and not-so-distant past. He openly advocated the relevance of the UN resolutions on Kashmir in the constituent Assembly.  Last week the MLA dropped a bombshell on Kashmir’s political landscape when he claimed that the moderate faction of Hurriyat Conference was secretly preparing for elections in Kashmir Playing the video footage of Hurriyat (M) rally in Langate, held on May 22, before a crowded press conference, Engineer Rashid said, “They talk of boycott in city but subtly prepare for municipal and assembly polls in villages.”

Criticising Hurriyat leader Professor Abdul Ghani, the legislator said that the Hurriyat leaders rubbed shoulders with mainstream politicians and activists in order to root for support they would need in upcoming elections. Taking a dig at the Hurriyat rally, Engineer said, “Elected sarpanchs, defeated candidates, aides of former ministers and most of the political activists from mainstream parties shared stage with Bilal Gani Lone and Professor Abdul Gani Bhat. They shouted slogans which signal their willingness to fight elections.

They even introduced their candidate.”  The legislator further said he was not bothered who fights elections from Kupwara, “but the point is why Hurriyat leaders conceal their real intentions even as they project individuals as candidates.” A reporter pointed to Jihad Council Chief Syed Salalhuddin’s statement about Panchayat elections in which the militant commander had left the question of participating open-ended. “Salahuddin is not the only person who represents movement here. Go and ask Geelani what he feels, ask others.”

Without denying the presence of mainstream politicians in the rally, Chairman of Peoples Conference Bilal Gani Lone who had organized it, termed Engineer Rashid’s claim as a ‘white lie’. He claimed that the legislator was unnerved by the public support Hurriyat (M) received during the rally. “Lone sahib was a popular leader and anybody could come to attend his death anniversary.”

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