Engineer Rashid, the fire band lawmaker from Langate region, knows how to stay relevant both in politics and news. His one liners often make it to newspaper front pages, giving him much needed publicity and following in Kashmir and beyond.
Off late, Rashid, wearing his signature grey-Kurta Pajama, was seen crying his heart out on Delhi based 24X7 news channels.
When it comes to debate, which is usually not a case on these news channels, Rashid leaves none, and takes a dig at everyone. His critical statement against both ruling PDP and opposition NC has won him fans across the region. But his latest love-hate relationship with new entrants BJP is something that people love to watch on TV. It was quite a site when Rashid suggested BJP’s Muslim face Shahnawaz Hussain to raise his stature to that of cow (in India) before he comments on Kashmir.
A few days later Rashid was seen using his lung power against Rahul Pandita, an author and activist who claims to represent Kashmir Pandits. As Pandita went on with his ‘what about Kashmir Pandits’ line repeatedly, Rashid, in his typical style, waved his hands across the screen and told him, “We both are Kashmiris. Talk to me in Kashmiri. Why don’t you speak in Kashmiri. Calm down or you will collapse. Take a chill.”
Rashid’s ability to engage politicians and news anchors alike has made him a household name even in mainland India, but for all the wrong reasons. After India lost Champions Trophy 2017 final to Pakistan recently, a Delhi based news anchor asked Rashid which team do you support. In his typical style Rashid, who has already made headlines in mainland India for organizing a beef party, told the anchor that he supports Pakistan’s cricket team. This not only surprised the anchor by enraged other panellists too, who branded Rashid as ‘extremist’.
In another debate Rashid referred Kashmir as one of the most militarilized and controversial areas in the world.
Another interesting space where Rashid loves to engage with both his followers and haters is the virtual world. His recent tweet where: “Kashmir is not Narender Modi’s property” generated huge response from Kashmir and mainland India.
While on a news channel Rashid shocked the anchor when he told him plainly that, “Kashmir is not an integral part of India. I support plebiscite.”
He added, Kashmir is neither India’s integral part nor Pakistan’s jugular vein; government should understand the historic reality of Kashmir.
He was the only lawmakers to raise question of human shield in recently held special assembly session. Rashid asked house to condemn Major Leetul Gogoi who used a Kashmiri civilian Farooq Ahmad Dar as human shield. An act widely condemned by the international human rights organization and media. But his request was turned down by the state assembly.
But Rashid knows how to stay relevant in news.
– Umar Khurshid