Kashmir legislator defends visit to families of slain guerrillas


Srinagar : Senior National Conference leader Mustafa Kamal, in the eye of a storm for visiting the families of two slain guerrilla commanders last week, Monday tried to play down the controversy, saying his visit was a non-issue and should not be blown out of proportion.

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Kamal, NC legislator from north Kashmir’s Pattan assembly constituency, told IANS: “My visit was simply to condole the bereaved family members and not a sign of sympathy for the militants.”

Kamal, the younger brother of NC patron and former chief minister Farooq Abdullah, had last week visited the families of Hizbul Mujahideen finance chief and another guerrilla killed by the security forces in Pattan areas.

The visit triggered strong criticism from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders.

“I have personally been attacked thrice by the militants and I do not approve of their actions, but as a sitting MLA from Pattan, where the encounter occurred in which two militants were killed, it was my duty to visit the bereaved families,” Kamal said here.

Former chief minister Farooq Abdullah had Sunday defended Kamal’s visit to the families of the slain guerrillas, saying he had only done his duty as an MLA from the area.

The BJP leaders of the state have said Kamal’s visit was part of a political game plan by the NC, which had an eye on the forthcoming assembly elections being held here later this year.