Jammu & Kashmir: PDP now demands Afzal Guru’s remains; coalition mired in further row

After a rocky start, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition in Jammu and Kashmir was mired…

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After a rocky start, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) coalition in Jammu and Kashmir was mired in further controversy today over the demand for return of the mortal remains of Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a red rag to the saffron party.

Notwithstanding a raging row over remarks crediting Pakistan for peaceful elections in the state, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed today remained unfazed saying he stood by what he had said yesterday.

“What I said, I stand by it,” he said after assuming office today in civil Secretariat. However, he appeared to have tempered his yesterday’s remark when he said “this voter slip has been given to us by Constitution of India. The people of state have more faith in this (right).”

As Sayeed’s daughter and PDP Chief, Mehbooba Mufti stood by her father’s statement, remarking he had not said he had not said anything wrong, a group of PDP MLAs came out with a signed statement demanding that the Centre hand over the mortal remains of Guru, who was hanged and buried inside Tihar Jail in Delhi on February nine, 2013.

She, however, admitted that there would be teething problems as both parties had diametrically opposite views on various issues. “We will have teething problems and everything can’t be hunky dory overnight”, she said.

The Government was on the backfoot in Parliament where the Opposition raked up the issue and asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make a statement on the floor of the House the Centre’s stand.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh distanced the government from Sayeed’s claim and said the credit for peaceful elections in the state should go to the Election Commission, people of the state, Army and the security forces.

Singh said he wanted to make it clear that “the government and my party (BJP) fully disassociate themselves” from the remarks made by Sayeed.

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First published on: 02-03-2015 at 20:26 IST