A year after they signed memorandum seeking return of mortal remains of Afzal Guru, the Congress and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislators call signing of the memorandum a political “compulsion”.
“I have no idea what happened after that,” Congress legislator Mohammad Amin Bhat told The Indian Express. “We have no idea about it. Our leaders must know about it”.
Bhat was one of the Congress legislators who signed the memorandum on the insistence of the independent legislator Engineer Sheikh Rashid. The Congress leaders had signed the memorandum after Rashid had put it a pre-condition for his vote for Congress Rajya Sabha candidate Ghulam Nabi Azad. Rashid’s vote was crucial for Azad’s election as Rajya Sabha member from Jammu and Kashmir.
Another Congress legislator, who didn’t want to be named, termed the signing of memorandum a “political compulsion” at that time. “In politics, these things do happen,” said the legislator. “To get Azad sahib through, we had to sign the memorandum. It was like signing on a gun point. Otherwise, it was our government that hanged him (Guru) and decided not to return his (mortal) remains”.
A month after Congress signed the memorandum; a group of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) legislators signed a similar memorandum to see their candidates through during the elections for the state legislative assembly. Like for Congress, Rashid put the signing of memorandum as a pre-condition for his vote for the PDP candidates.
“PDP stands by the demand for return of his (Guru’s) mortal remains, and the party promises to follow vigorously for the return of the mortal remains,” the PDP statement had said after Rashid insisted for it. “We believe that the resolution brought by Engineer Rashid to seek clemency for late Afzal Guru was justified and should have been adopted by the House at that time”.
Rashid, an independent legislator from Langate, had tabled a resolution in the state assembly seeking clemency for Afzal Guru. The resolution, however, couldn’t be picked up for discussion after Congress and BJP legislators disrupted the House proceedings.
Over the past year, PDP legislators have remained completely silent over the issue. “No, we have not done anything further on that (memorandum),” PDP legislator from Pampore, Zahoor Ahmad Mir told The Indian Express. “There has been no progress on that. It stands where it was”.
While another PDP legislator Advocate Mohammad Yousuf, who represents the party from south Kashmir’s Shopian and was a signatory on the memorandum, refused to comment, the party’s Batamaloo legislator Noor Mohammad Sheikh seconded Mir.
“We have been silent on it since,” Sheikh said. “We haven’t done anything after signing that memorandum”.