04 October 2011

Will ‘custodial death’ take Omar down?

Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly is likely to witness another stormy day on Tuesday, amidst continuing uproar over the mysterious death of a ruling National Conference worker.

Today is the last day of J&K Assembly’s current session.

The issue, which has created a political storm in the state, had yesterday led to pandemonium and ugly scenes in the state Assembly as the opposition People's Democratic Party raised a ruckus and alleged Chief Minister Omar Abdullah's involvement. A top government official later clarified that the NC worker died of a heart attack.

Mikes were uprooted, a fan hurled and house papers torn in the Assembly as Speaker Muhammad Akbar Lone and PDP leader Iftekhar Hussain Ansari traded abuses in the House.

Addressing a press conference, Omar yesterday said that he would slap defamation notices on opposition PDP leaders for alleging his hand in the death of NC worker Sayeed Muhammad Yusuf.

The trouble had started after PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti sought an adjournment of the House to debate on the alleged custodial killing of Yusuf on September 30.

However, Speaker Lone declined saying the state government has requested the Chief Justice to appoint a sitting High Court judge to probe the matter.

PDP president Mufti said that the finger of suspicion in the alleged custodial killing pointed to the Chief Minister, his father, Union minister Farooq Abdullah, and junior Home Minister Nasir Aslam Wani.

"What has come to light is that Omar became the interrogator, the judge and the executioner. A fair probe is not possible while they are in power," Mufti said.

Yusuf, a land dealer from South Kashmir's Bijbehara town, died last week on Friday, allegedly in police custody. He had been detained for questioning along with two other middle-rung leaders of the party, who alleged that Yusuf had taken a bribe of Rs 1.18 crore from them for getting one a minister's post and the other a legislator's seat.