The Jammu and Kashmir Assembly witnessed chaotic scenes with a senior National Conference leader shouting pro-Pakistan slogans in response to the BJP’s slogans against the neighbouring country. As the House descended into further chaos, Speaker Kavinder Gupta adjourned the House for a while and even expunged his own remarks.
Trouble began when the Speaker, responding to angry remarks from the legislators on the terror attack on the Sunjuwan military camp, said the area fell in the Assembly constituency of NC leader Mohammad Akbar Lone. He then made certain remarks on the attack that led to uproarious scenes from the Opposition benches, which demanded that the Speaker withdraw his words. BJP members responded by supporting the Speaker and raising anti-Pakistan slogans.
This led to shouts of “shame, shame” from the Opposition benches. Somewhere in the midst of this ruckus, Lone shouted “Pakistan zindabad”.
As the exchanges heated up further, the Speaker adjourned the House for 15 minutes. However, when the House re-assembled, Opposition members demanded that the Speaker take back his words, following which Gupta expunged his remarks. While doing so, he referred to the “pro-Pakistan slogans” that had come from the Opposition benches.
Outside the Assembly, Mohammad Akbar Lone justified his raising pro-Pakistan slogans, saying members on the treasury benches had said “many things that hurt my religious sentiments. “Mein Kashmiri hoon, Hindustani hoon ya Pakistani… jo bhi hoon, mein pehley to Musalmaan hoon (Whether I am Kashmiri, Indian or Pakistani, I am first a Muslim). My sentiments got hurt and I said Pakistan zindabad,” said Lone, who has been Speaker of the Legislative Assembly during the National Conference government in the state.
“Pakistan zindabad kehney se kya hota hai. Woh kahengey Pakistan murdabad, mein kahunga Pakistan zindabad. Iss se kya hota hai (What happens if I say Pakistan zindabad? If they say Pakistan murdabad, I will say Pakistan zindabad).
The National Conference distanced itself from Lone’s slogan. In a tweet, NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said party president “Just spoke to chief NC Farooq Abdullah sahib. Dr Sahib and entire party is of the unequivocal stand that NC MLA from Sonwari Akbar Lone had spoken out of turn and his slogans in assembly were completely unacceptable to the party.”
BJP state general secretary Dr Narinder Singh described Lone’s statement as “bizarre” and “unfortunate”, saying it shows the real mindset of the National Conference.
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