SRINAGAR: Tensions between political figures in Jammu and Kashmir escalated as the National Conference (NC) and the Apni Party exchanged verbal salvos. The heated exchange began with a speech by Apni Party Chief Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday in which he criticised the historical track record of traditional political parties in the region, including the NC.
This drew a swift and sharp response from the NC, with both parties engaging in a war of words.
JKNC Spokesperson, Imran Nabi Dar, lashed out at Bukhari’s comments, calling them a “shameless attempt to whitewash his own shady past.” Dar accused Bukhari of lacking the moral ground to comment on the legacy of Sher-e-Kashmir Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, stating, “Sher-e-Kashmir is too big a leader for a person like Bukhari to comment on. The narrative to discredit Sheikh Sahib’s legacy is an old tactic employed by anti-Kashmir forces for many decades now.”
Dar highlighted that the people of Kashmir are aware of Bukhari’s history and intentions. “His utterances are a brazen attempt to remain in the news and an attempt to whitewash his own past.” He added that Bukhari’s frustration is evident due to the overwhelming response the NC’s leadership and policies have received.
The spokesperson also accused Bukhari of aligning with the BJP-RSS agenda and questioned his credibility on Article 370. “People here are aware of the role Altaf Bukhari and his family played in orchestrating the downfall of Dr Farooq government in 1984. Their role as pliant political operatives to dislodge duly elected governments and horse trading is a well-known fact,” Dar said.
Dar’s fierce reaction was to Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari stance on the pitfalls of dynastic politics in the region. “The truth is that J&K was destined to be a part of India in 1947, and we should have stuck to this reality,” Bukhari told a gathering in border Uri. He criticised political families that “have always believed they were entitled to rule,” and expressed pride in not being part of such a lineage.
Bukhari had said that the Kashmir leaders “manipulated the emotions of innocent people” by often resorting to “symbolic gestures like displaying rock salt and green fabric” to represent our neighbouring nation. “I hold sincere respect for our neighbouring nation. However, my firm conviction is that the key to a dignified and prosperous life for the people of Jammu and Kashmir lies within our own nation’s boundaries and not elsewhere,” Bukhari insisted.