Senior National Conference leader and former finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather expressed surprise over a statement attributed to him by a prominent Srinagar daily, quoting him saying, “We support AIIMS for Kashmir, but not at the cost of Jammu.”
“The words put in my mouth are figment of imagination and I still wonder why such a statement has been attributed to me, as I never and nowhere stated what has been carried by the newspaper”, Mr Rather said in a statement while giving the sequence of events.
The former finance minister said that he had led a delegation of National Conference leaders from the Jammu Province and met Governor N N Vohra to invoke his attention to the New Recruitment Policy of the PDP-BJP Government. “We submitted a memorandum seeking withholding his assent to the proposed draft Ordinance being issued on the subject”, he said and added that the delegation had also sought an AIIMS for Jammu while hailing the one approved for Srinagar”, he said while emphasising that the National Conference has been consistently welcoming AIIMS for Kashmir.
Rather said that late Friday evening, the Jammu based reporter sought his views telephonically over their meeting with the Governor. “I told him that whatever transpired between the delegation and the Governor has been already disseminated to media through a handout”, he said, adding that despite insistence of the reporter, he said he had nothing to say beyond what has been stated in the handout.
Rather said he was hurt to find next morning what had been attributed to him. “More painful was the fact that it has been carried by a newspaper which is known for its objectivity and credibility”, he said adding that this was, however, not the case with the instant issue. “The handout issued by the party had been sent to the newspaper concerned as well and it would have been highly appreciated if the published report was based on that”, the former finance minister maintained.
Urging the newspaper concerned to browse its e-mail and see what the press release issued by JKNC Media Cell stated about the meeting of the delegation with the Governor. For information of the newspaper and to put record straight, Rather wished the esteemed readers to know what the press release was all about.