Of all the National conference senior leaders, the only one who made it to the front pages throughout this hot summer month was Ghulam Nabi Ratanpuri.
The broadcaster-turned-senior Member Parliament ‘protested’ inside a police station for 24 hours, demanding release of five NC workers arrested for manhandling an on-duty junior engineer, Ghulam Muhammad Bhat, posted at Pulwama.
The MP-JE tussle occurred on July 26 when the latter was beaten up and his office at Pulwama ransacked allegedly by workers of the ruling NC at the former’s behest. The police arrested the accused five NC activists and registered a case. Ratanpuri, an MP, rushed to the police station; courted arrest and refused to leave without the goons who were in the lock up. He came out the next day, saying “there is a nexus between police and the engineer”.
“There were a lot of issues. He (MP) used to take water pipes forcibly on his own from the department stores. He also used to do many more unscrupulous things at the cost of public exchequer,” the JE was quoted alleging. He started resisting Ratanpuri’s “arbitrary orders” and accused the MP of threatened him. Born at Ratnipora Pulwama in 1954, the broadcaster pursued a career in journalism.
After graduating in 1974, he joined a local Urdu daily in Srinagar. The brief stint as journalist ended when Ratanpuri foresaw a better career in politics and joined the NC. He worked for the NC’s official mouthpiece Nawai-e-Subah, serving it as chief editor for two years. In 1981, Ratanpuri joined Radio Kashmir Srinagar as assistant editor and was elevated to programme executive.
There Ratanpuri interviewed almost all the leading politicians of the state. He was associated with Radio Kashmir’s most popular current features programme, Sheherbeen. The 54-year-old, however, resigned and returned to NC, this time as a politician. In 2008 elections NC pitched him as a new face against PDP’s Khalil Band who ultimately came out victorious. Ratanpuri, however, was later nominated to the Rajya Sabha after Dr Farooq Abdullah vacated his seat in the upper house of the Parliament.
He is now a member of parliamentary standing committee on labour, parliamentary forum on children and parliamentary consultative committee for HRD ministry. Besides managing political fallout of his actions the MP will need to prove his innocence. As Taj mohi-ud-Din was quoted as having said: “Leaders are not meant for beating the people. They cannot silence people by just manhandling and threatening them. I have strongly recommended that law should take its course whosoever has done wrong.”