What’s your reaction to recent media reports on the National Integration Council (NIC) meeting transcript released by the home ministry?
It’s not the entire transcript. They (media) are talking about it in bits and pieces. I stand by every word I had said but the people have to read the whole transcript. Those who have quoted me have taken out a few lines and woven a story around it. The entire transcript of my speech is available online. It’s on our party site as well. I was shocked to read somewhere that I supported (2001 Parliament attack accused) Afzal Guru’s hanging. But when you read the full transcript, you will find that it’s totally a different story. What I had said was that if they wanted justice to prevail by hanging Afzal, justice should prevail first in other cases too. Those interested should go through the entire transcript and decide for themselves whether I’m right or wrong.
So what is the PDP stand on Afzal Guru?
He should be pardoned. In fact, we were the first party to seek his clemency from the president.
BJP leader Sushma Swaraj claims that you did praise Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi.
Sushma Swaraj said on a TV channel that I had praised Modi when actually I had quoted an incident in which someone else was talking about his experiences in Gujarat. It wasn’t me praising Modi but the other person. And all this was in the context of the Justice Sachar Committee report and in the context that all parties must reach out to Muslims and minorities in India. Those seeking to know the truth must read the entire transcript.
Why hasn’t the PDP reacted to these reports or questioned the timing of the release of the transcript?
We don’t need to react. The entire transcript is online. And it should be read by all leaders and people alike.
A boy was shot in Boniyar for demanding electricity and the blame game by political parties has already started.
Killing those who demand power is one more example of how situations are being mismanaged by the National Conference (NC) government. In a democracy, it’s the basic right of the people to protest and demand whatever they need. But if one has to pay for it through his/her blood, then you can imagine how bad the administration is.
The NC leadership often accuses the PDP of not doing enough on the power front when your party was ruling the state.
In 2009, during the Shopian double rape and murder case, the chief minister mishandled the situation and blamed it on the PDP. In 2010, when 120 people were killed, he blamed it on the PDP. Now when power shortage has resulted in a killing, the NC again blames the PDP. All this, I must say, is ridiculous. One should understand that Mufti Mohammad Sayeed was in power for only three years. At that point, the priority was to give people some sense of security and relief. What the NC hasn’t done for the past 35-40 years, they want the PDP to do in three years. That’s just a blame game. Recently, Omar Abdullah blamed the people for power shortages by saying that they steal power and don’t pay for it. This is despite the fact that ‘meter hatao heater lagao’ (forget the meter and continue using the electric heater) was his slogan during the 2008 Assembly election. It was Omar Abdullah who promised free power to the people. But since then the electricity rates have been hiked four times.
Baba Umar is a Correspondent with Tehelka.