By Saima Bhat
In a significant departure, J&K legislative assembly included slain Panches and Sarpanches in its first day obituary references, a move initiated by the opposition. Assembly also passed a quick resolution condemning the controversial blasphemous film of an American that independent lawmaker Engineer Rasheed suggested and Communist leader M Yusuf Tarigami supported.
First sitting of the assembly concluded peacefully as the lawmakers remembered former Speaker and lawyer Malik Mohi-ud-Din and Sardar Piara Singh, a two time member of the upper house.
Malik, a resident of Pampore (born 1936) had graduated in law from AMU, Aligarh and started his practice from Pulwama in 1958. He later shifted to the High Court. Post-1953, lawmakers who knew Malik said, he was associated with the Plebiscite Front for which he was jailed many times. He has been instrumental in converting the Front into NC later. He successfully contested the general election of 1977 as NC candidate from Pampore constituency and was unanimously elected Speaker, Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly on 8th September 1977.During 1972-75, the Obituary Reference read by Speaker Mohammad Akber Lone said he was Secretary of the NC and was part of the protracted negotiations with New Delhi when Mirza Afzal Beg and G Parthasarthy negotiated the 1975 accord. The accord led to the return of Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah back to power. Those days, Hakim Yasin said, Malik was much known as “Mohidin Parthsarthy”. Malik later become the Speaker and one day lost the confidence of the day. He avoided being in politics later but was known in the political circles as an intellectual. Malik passed away on August 29, 2012 after a protracted illness.
Sardar Piara Singh was a resident of Nahu village in R S Pora who joined NC after being in Democratic National Conference for some time. He later switched over to Congress. Singh was nominated to legislative council twice by NC in 1963 and later in 1980. Born on March 5, 1931, Singh passed away on September 26, 2012.
Lawmakers termed Singh a leader who did lot many things for the upliftment of the downtrodden segment of the Sikhs. However, BJP leader Prof Chaman Lal Gupta, the most senior leader commented that Singh represented the NC leaders from Jammu who lacked any public support – something that was contested by others later.
Engineer Abdul Rashid admitted that he lacked any personal knowledge of the two lawmakers. “We should include people like Hilal Ahmad Dar of Bandipora and Ashiq Hussain, who were killed by government forces, also in the obituary reference,” engineer said. “We should include all those people (in the reference) who were killed in state terrorism”.
It was the suggestion of PDP president Ms Mehbooba Mufti that the house should include names of the slain Panchs and Sarpanchs in the Obituary reference because “they were elected like us”. Communist Tarigami, however, commented that Panchayat members should be kept away from politics. At the conclusion, however, Speaker M A Lone included the slain Panchs and Sarpanchs in the list and led the house to observe a symbolic standing silence in memory of the dead.
Well before the house would adjourn for the day, Tarigami supported suggestion of Rashid that the house should condemn the blasphemous film by an American currently in custody. It was instantly accepted and the members raised hands in its condemnation without making any speech. Chief Minster wrapped up the obituary reference by making a brief concluding speech.