Hindustan Times (Lucknow)

Blow for Mehbooba as top PDP leader quits over violence

- Toufiq Rashid ■ letters@hindustant­imes.com

SRINAGAR: Tariq Karra, one of the founders of the PDP, quit the party and his Lok Sabha membership on Thursday with a strong attack on his colleague Mehbooba Mufti’s government for the unrest in the state.

Karra, hailed as a giant-killer for defeating National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah on his turf Srinagar in the last assembly elections, accused the Peoples Democratic Party government of being a sell-out to the Rashtriya Swayamseva­k Sangh.

“This (unrest) has exposed the tall claims of the government of India and state government regarding the democratic character”, he said. More than 80 people have been killed since the second week of June when militant commander Burhan Wani was shot dead by security forces during a raid. The June 8 incident sparked waves of anti-India protests and retaliator­y crackdown that resulted in scores of fatalities and injuries to hundreds of protesters.

“The PDP has become a collaborat­or for fascist RSS (Rashtriya Swayamseva­k Sangh)-governed BJP,” Karra said.

“The defining moment for me came on the occasion of Eid (September 13) when people of Kashmir were not allowed to offer prayers”.

aKarra, who founded with three others in 1999, has been a staunch opponent of the PDPBJP alliance that was struck where no clear winner emerged in the last state elections.

“Certain shrines and grand mosques were even locked. My apprehensi­on that by PDP’s facilitati­on RSS-backed BJP would even impose religious ingression stands unfortunat­ely vindicated today,” he said.

“Every single day Kashmiris are being butchered, fathers carrying coffins of their young loved ones, hundreds lying dead, thousands being injured. The number of injured is outnumberi­ng the hospital capacity and the number of arrested is outnumberi­ng lockup,” he said.

Immediatel­y after PDP aligned with the BJP after the fractured mandate in December 2014, Karra had warned the PDP that the alliance meant doom for the party.

But he did a U-turn and backed Mehbooba when she chose to go with the BJP after weeks of indecision following her father’s death in January.

“At that time I had to choose between evil and lesser evil as a certain section of the party was ready to form the government with the BJP without even Mehbooba Mufti,” he said on Thursday.

 ?? WASEEM ANDRABI /HT ?? Tariq Karra.

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