Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hit out at the opposition and the media for playing up sensitive issues like setting up a separate enclave for army personnel to “paint Kashmir in a bad light”.
“I do not know what these newspapers want. Do they want to set the state on fire? They should have investigated before publishing the story,” Mufti said in the state assembly.
The chief minister’s angry outburst came after Independent legislator Engineer Rashid rushed to the speaker’s podium waving a copy of a newspaper which had carried a frontpage report with a photograph that the government was building a separate township on the outskirts of Srinagar for soldiers who retire after serving in the troubled state.
She said the newspaper had “misreported” the facts to gain popularity and showed a Sainik colony under construction.
The chief minister sought to clarify that the photograph in the daily was that of residential quarters being made for spouses of married serving army personnel of the Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry regiment.
She warned that anyone trying to “disrupt peace” would be dealt with “sternly”.
Mehbooba also lashed out at the opposition National Conference and the Congress during the stormy Question Hour and said they were raking up non-issues.
At the centre of her attack was her political bete noire Omar Abdullah, former chief minister and president of the National Conference.
“Omar Abdullah attended four meetings of the Sainik board and in all those four meetings, he directed that land be identified for setting up of an enclave.
“Now, there is tweet, tweet, tweet,” she said in a jibe at Abdullah’s frequent use of the microblogging site Twitter.
Abdullah denied the allegation that he had ordered land to be identfied for a separate soldiers’ colony. “If there is any such order issued during my tenure, please bring it forth. If you are here for welfare of the people, I am also here so that people are benefitted.”
He said it was in fact the chief minister who was putting the state on fire. “I think when the chief minister is talking about setting the state on fire, she is confusing herself with me.”
“My small tweets prick you. Your mood gets spoiled. If I make you accountable by tweeting, I will continue it. I won’t stop and I won’t apologise for it.”
The Congress members also took objection to the chief minister’s remarks.
“Did the Anantnag attack happen due to the media,” asked Congress leader Nawang Rigzin Jora, referring to the killing of two policemen by terrorists in the south Kashmir town on Saturday.