Meet the man behind ‘first-ever media summit’ on Kashmir

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SRINAGAR: Bashir Assad, the man behind the “first-ever two-day media summit” on Kashmir, had been expelled from PDP by party president Mehbooba Mufti on charges of corruption, a top party functionary said.
Bashir Assad

Before floating NGO Lehar in 2014, Assad has been a man of many roles. Starting his career as a dealer of pesticides, he was CPI (M) general secretary Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami’s Personal Assistant for two years.
After leaving Tarigami, he was briefly associated with National Conference. He then joined the PDP as its general secretary and rose to become the party’s first youth president.
“Complaints of corruption against him had come to Mehbooba ji. She later expelled him,” said Waheed-ur-Rahman Parra, PDP leader and political analyst in chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed’s office.
Asked whether the complaints sent to Mehbooba accused Assad of taking money from unemployed youth after promising them jobs, Parra said, “Yes.”
After being expelled from the PDP, he worked for a Jammu-based newspaper, Early Times, till five months back, while running the NGO Lehar on the side.
Assad told Kashmir Reader that Lehar “does intellectual creative activities among youth”.
The media summit, according to columnist and former journalist Rajni Shaleen Chopra, director of the NGO, was the third event of the NGO. In March this year, the NGO organised Sonth Literary Festival. It had also organised a seminar on Kashmiri youth last year.
Assad said that it cost his NGO Rs 6 lakh to organise the “summit”, in which 14 Indian journalists participated.
Asked who funded the event, Assad told Kashmir Reader that
this is an “unethical” question. However, when told that this is a public event, he said Rs 3 lakh were “donated by my friends”, while the rest of the money is yet to be raised.
Assad did not divulge any further details about the NGO. When this reporter asked Chopra on the second day of the summit who were the other members of the NGO, who funded it, Chopra said, “You are doing a negative, planted story.”
On further insistence, Chopra named some other members but did not disclose any other detail.
“Why is this story important for you? It is a loaded story,” Chopra told Kashmir reader.