No need to politicise obituary references, says Akhtar

Leader of the House in the legislative council Naeem Akther on Tuesday asked the members to not politicise the obituary references.

Akther’s intervention came soon after some Bharatiya Janata Party and Congress members exchanged heated arguments during obituary references in the House.

“We have to pay tributes to people who contributed to this state and the society and when we read out their obituary references, we must feel a deep respect for them. We should not make them ‘small’ by politicising their obituary references,” he said.

Earlier, while paying tributes to veteran Congress leader Makhan Lal Fotedar, who passed away in September last year, BJP’s Surinder Mohan Ambardar made a reference to his (Fotedar’s) autobiography and questioned the Congress president Rahul Gandhi’s leadership.

“Fotedar was considered very close to Gandhi family but in his autobiography he had said that ‘nation will not accept Rahul Gandhi as its leader’,” Ambardar claimed.

He also made a mention of some BJP activists and security forces personnel killed in Kashmir and appealed to the legislative council chairman to include their names in the obituary references.

Similarly, BJP’s Ramesh Arora also said something about Sonia and Rajeev Gandhi, quoting some article of Makhan Lal Fotedar. Arora also paid tributes to five central reserve police force personnel killed in a fidayeen attack in Lehtpora, Pulwama, on Sunday, and to BJP’s youth leader Gowhar Hussain Bhat, who was abducted and killed by militants in Shopian last year.

Following this, Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Monga and Naresh Gupta stood up and asked the chairman to issue directions on not using the names of other party leaders in the obituary references.

Congress was joined by National Conference’s Showkat Ahmed Ganai, who opined that no reference shall be allowed outside the parameters of “laid down norms.”

“There are several others killed in Kashmir, why the obituary references are only for few?” Ganai sarcastically asked the chair.

He said that the chair should issue directions and ask members to “stay glued to obituary references laid down by the council and not add names according to their own political will.”

Ganai was joined by PDP member Surinder Kumar Chowdhary.

“Several policemen were also killed. PDP also lost many workers but it is wrong if we use obituary references for own benefit. These references should be read as per the laid down norms. Those having knowledge about members (in obituary references) would enlighten others about their contributions and those who don’t know about them simply pay their respect,” said Chowdhary.

In the meantime, Akhtar pacified the agitating members and asked the House to maintain its decorum and not politicise the obituary references as “it sends a wrong message.”

Earlier, LC chairman Haji Anayat Ali moved the obituary references and highlighted the contributions of legislators who passed away since the last assembly session was held.

The House mourned the demise of Makhan Lal Fotedar, Shabir Ahmad Salaria,   Sheikh Muhammad Maqbool, Sofi Ghulam Mohi-ud-Din, Molvi Abdur Rashid, Om Prakash Saraf, Surinder Kumar Abrol and Dr Syed Naseer Ahmad Shah.

Paying his respects to Fotedar, Akther said that there is need to “follow the path shown by the great leader and social reformer.”

“His honesty, simplicity and dedication towards his work needs special mention,” he said.

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