Breaks down in tears while defending himself from accusations of being an ‘agent’
Bandipora: Engineer Rasheed’s speech in Bandipora on Sunday attracted a fair number of listeners, among them policemen who were there for the venue’s security but who joined the audience in keenly listening to his words.
The scene of policemen listening to his speech was unusual as the firebrand politician from Langate has consistently rejected security provided by the government and has often been roughed up and beaten by police for protesting against the government. He was also smeared with ink once in Delhi, after which he said that he had kept his ink-smeared clothes and shoes “preserved” in the belief that he will “enter Parliament one day wearing those to show India its real face.”
Rasheed asserted he was not a man of “agencies” as he is accused of. “For 10 years despite being without security I didn’t even feel an insect bite. I went to south Kashmir’s Shamsipora and helped in vacating an army camp during the night. Even the police isn’t concerned as much for (militant) Zakir Musa as it is about where I am going,” he said.
Rasheed said he never had state security and the circular issued by the Governor saying that his security cover has been withdrawn was a “joke”.
“I don’t need any security. My security are the common people,” he said.
Rasheed said he “likes to play with fire and had I been an agent, I would have had commandoes for my security.”
He even swore an oath that “whosoever has taken even a dime from the central government, or is indirectly or directly attached with the agencies, or has any secret pact with them, or has taken any donations from them, will perish forever.”
Breaking into tears, he added, “If after all these confessions anyone doesn’t vote for me, his funeral prayers won’t be accepted.”
He said, “It is not a joke that for the past 10 years I have never had a peaceful day. I have only taken beatings on the roads from government forces and I do not have even the money to make banners for my election campaign. Nor do I have my own vehicle.”
Speaking about the criticism of his political activities being described as “stunts”, Rasheed said, “I am dubbed as a drama maker and Delhi’s agent, but if my dramas are benefiting people then I will be happy to do them anytime, anywhere.”
Rasheed, who is contesting elections for the Parliament seat of Baramulla in north Kashmir, said his voice in Parliament would be that of Kashmiri people’s will.
“If Kashmiris tell me they want to join with Turkmenistan, I will even take that to Parliament,” he said.
Rasheed said that Kashmiri youth are forced to take stones in their hands because of the political failure of their leaders.
“It’s not my election, it’s yours who are decrying the barbarity of NC and PDP. Today, Engineer Rasheed has plunged into the arena to show the reality of Kashmir,” he said.
He said he was trying to realise the dreams of all Kashmiris, irrespective of which party or shade of opinion they belonged to. “It’s the dream of all the siblings belonging to different politicians, of all the political parties like NC, PDP, PC, Congress, which I am trying to realise,” he said.
However, he later lashed out at the NC and PDP for taking out protests against the ban on civilian traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu highway, terming their protests as an “election stunt”.
Rasheed said this while speaking to media persons after his election rally in Bandipora.
“It’s for the first time that NC and PDP have come on roads to protest, but it is just for the elections as it is election season,” he said.
“I have decided not to protest on these issues during election time, because if I do, they will blame me for doing it for votes,” he added.
He said the traffic ban has “now exposed the well-known fact that India is walking on the footsteps on Israel in its barbarity against common people”.
On asked about the united stand taken by Kashmiri political parties to defend the special status of Jammu & Kashmir under Article 35A, Rasheed took a jibe at Sajad Lone, saying, “His statement is like Narendra Modi’s announcing that he will introduce Sharia in Afghanistan. Sajad Lone being his younger son, his words have no authority or weight.”