Baramulla: Ruling National Conference’s maverick leader and Minister for Higher Education, Mohammad Akbar Lone, is in news again for wrong reasons, as he thrashed a youth in full public glare in this north Kashmir district on Tuesday.
According to eyewitnesses, as Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was busy addressing an election rally at Watergam, three educated but unemployed siblings—Mohammad Amin, Firdous Ahmad and Hilal Ahmad—belonging to Jagir area of Sopore stood up and waved their hands in a bid to attract the attention of Omar.
Even as the trio was making their point, some National Conference workers and policemen tried to stop them. The trio however did not relent. This prompted Akbar Lone to jump from the stage and thrash one of the three brothers severely, the eyewitnesses said.
Lone also tossed the documents, which the siblings wanted to hand over to Omar Abdullah, in the air, they said.
“The Minister repeatedly slapped one of the two brothers and kicked him as well. The duo was later dragged by policemen and NC workers and thrown out of the rally,” Ghulam Rasool a local resident who attended the rally told Kashmir Reader.
This all happened in front of scores of people including local MLA Javid Dar and officials of police and civil administration, Rasool said, adding that the Chief Minister watched the scene as a ‘mute spectator’. Some police officials who were present on the occasion urged scribes not to report the incident.
Later, talking to reporters, Firdous said he and his brothers wanted to apprise Omar Abdullah about their problem.
“We are five educated but unemployed brothers. Four years ago we had applied for a loan to launch a mineral water unit and invested Rs 25 to 30 lakhs. We completed every formality while as loan has also been sanctioned in our favour but there was no disbursement. We repeatedly brought the issue into the notice of the government but no one gave heed to our pleas.
“So when we heard that Chief Minister is going to address a public rally here we decide to show him our documents but unfortunately the Education Minister beat up mercilessly,” Firdous said, insisting that he and his brother had no intention to disrupt the rally.
“We only wanted to tell Omar Abdullah how government departments are working on the ground and how they are giving trouble to aam admi,” Firdous added.
Lone apologises for ‘unfortunate loss of calm’
Meanwhile, Akbar Lone has tendered his apology over the incident which he described as “unfortunate loss of calm.”
In a statement, Lone said: “I regret the unfortunate incident in which I got into a scuffle with an individual in Rafiabad who tried to disrupt a public meeting being held there while trying to raise a personal grievance. I deeply regret losing my calm and getting into a physical scuffle with the said individual. Soon after the public meeting ended, I met the concerned individual and apologized to him for losing my calm and the concerned individual in turn apologized for disrupting the public meeting in the manner that he did.”
Lone claimed that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah was “completely unaware of this incident”.
“However, after being informed about this unfortunate incident the Chief Minister sought and met the concerned individual personally and assured him that his personal issue would be looked into through the due process after the end of Parliamentary elections,” Lone said.
“The concerned individual apologized for disrupting the public meeting and expressed gratitude to the Chief Minister for meeting him personally,” he claimed.