Srinagar: Ruling National Conference minister Sakina Itoo Sunday threatened to file an FIR against a man she said had tried to project a “simple father-daughter conversation” as “religious exploitation.”
She was reacting to a video that has gone viral on social networking sites and purportedly shows her invoking religion to seek support of a reluctant old man in the upcoming elections.
“I am like your daughter, you take oath with Quran in your hands that you will support us in the elections like in the past,” Itoo is seen telling the man in the video. However, the man is seen eventually pledging support to Itoo and the party.
“The man who has done it(shot the video), I am filing an FIR ( against him) because in this region, I never think that of myself as an MLA or minister. I always think that I am a daughter and a sister and that is why elders here treat me like that,” Sakina told reporters in Kulgam.
“Sometime elders hold me by the neck and treat me like their daughter or I hold them like that. How is that religious exploitation?” she added.
Meanwhile, the man shown in the video, Gul Mohammad Malik, too rejected charges of “religious exploitation” against Itoo.
“I am a National Conference man. We have created NC. There may be some differences between me and my daughter (Itoo) but there is no exploitation,” he said.
The National Conference said that there was “absolutely nothing wrong” with the minister’s actions which are a part of the culture here and there was no violation of the Model Code of Conduct.
“The party stand is that there was absolutely nothing wrong with it. We believe there was no violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Certain things are vernacular and part of the culture and people here understand that,” NC spokesman Junaid Matto said.
Opposition PDP maintained that Itoo had tried to “coax and coerce people to join her party and vote for it by invoking religion” and lodged a complaint with the Election Commission against the NC Minister.
“The issue is a major violation of Model Code of Conduct. PDP has urged the ECI to take note of it,” People’s Democratic Party chief spokesperson Naeem Akhtar said in a statement here.
“The issue is very sensitive in nature and it has been brought to the notice of ECI that how cheap tricks are being applied by the NC leaders to buy support,” he said.
“They are clearly trying to force the people to swear by Quran and their Muslim faith that they would support and vote for the NC candidates,” Akhtar said. The exact date of 3:11 minute-video which went viral on social networking sites and has become a topic of discussions among the netizens, is not known.