PDP MLA calls slain terrorists ‘martyrs’, gets panned

12/01/2018

JAMMU, Jan 11: An MLA of Jammu and Kashmir's ruling PDP today stoked a controversy when he described militants shot dead in encounters with security forces as "martyrs" and also cautioned against glorifying their killings.
Aijaz Ahmed Mir's remarks came as an embarrassment for the party as its alliance partner BJP decried the comments saying these were "absolutely intolerable".
"Those (terrorists) who are from Kashmir are killed in any situation are martyrs. Yes, they are our brothers. They are our children," Aijaz, an MLA from from South Kashmir's Wachi, said here.
"Some of them are minors of the age of 14 who don't even know what they are doing. We should not glorify the killing of terrorists. It is our collective failure," he said, adding that they are children, who have gone down the wrong track, and should be counselled and brought back.
"We should desist from glorifying the killings of 200 militants. Nearly one lakh people have been killed due to militancy in all these years. Let us bat for talks," Aijaz said outside the assembly here.
He also sympathised with the security personnel killed in the state, saying, "We feel sad when our security forces are martyred as well. We should sympathise with the parents of jawans and with the parents of terrorists as well. We want to stop this bloodshed."
Asked about a recent incident when militants hurled a grenade at his residence, the PDP legislator said, "We believe in India and they believe in something else that is why I was attacked. It is a difference of ideology."
The BJP condemned Mir's statement with its state spokesman Suni Sethi saying, "It seems that said legislator has lost mental balance to talk in the language of militants and separatists while under oath of constitution as legislator."
In a statement, Sethi said such "utterances by the PDP MLA are absolutely intolerable and nobody in the political mainstream can be given liberty to cross line of nationalism".
In Delhi, the Congress asked the BJP to come clean on the issue.
"It is the PDP MLA who has said this. The PDP is in alliance with the BJP (in Jammu and Kashmir). The BJP will have to tell whether it agrees with what its alliance partner has said," Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said.
Latching onto a PDP MLA's "Kashmiri militants are martyrs" comment, the Congress today questioned the BJP whether it agrees with what the legislator belonging to its alliance partner in Jammu and Kashmir has said and asked it to come clean on the issue.
"It is the PDP MLA who has said this. The PDP is in alliance with the BJP (in Jammu and Kashmir). The BJP will have to tell whether it agrees with what its alliance partner has said," Congress spokesperson Tom Vadakkan said, while speaking to reporters.
"Whether the BJP believes that the militants are their brothers and sisters? These are questions the BJP needs to answer. People are awaiting answer," he said.
Ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) MLA Aijaz Ahmed courted controversy today by calling Kashmiri militants "martyrs" and "brothers", batting for talks with separatists, and cautioning against glorifying killing of terrorists.
"Terrorists, who are from Kashmir are martyrs. Yes, they are our brothers. They are our children," Ahmed, an MLA from South Kashmir's Wachi, said in Jammu.
He noted that some of the militants were minors who don't even know what they are doing.
"They are children who have gone down the wrong track and should be counselled and brought back," Ahmed said.

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