Known in the Valley for his plain speak on Kashmir and theatrics that often involve torn pherans, the former legislator from north Kashmir’s Langate seat, Abdul Rashid, is perceived to be humble compared to other legislators. Better known as “Engineer Rashid”, he usually wears pheran and does not have a posse of security guards following him around.
A student of the Kashmir University, however, has accused Rashid of threatening him for making comments against the former legislator in a video.
Aqib Malik, 26, a resident of Shopian, who is pursuing Masters degree in the university, claims he received intimidating messages from phone numbers known to used by the former legislator.
Aqib questioned Rashid’s "drama" in a video, referring to his separatist posturing and simultaneous political career within the ambit of the unionist political setup, which went viral. The messages, said Aqib, began pouring in late night.
"This is Er.Rasheed. Give me ur address i want to meet u (sic)," the first SMS at 9.32 pm read. Five minutes later another text message was received from the same number, 9906000840. "I can find u. Who gave u right to insult me.(sic)"
However, it did not stop at that. The next day, Aqib received messages and unsolicited phone calls from another number, 9906663777 — the former legislator answered the phone when this reporter called on this number — warning him of grave consequences.
"Phone pick up Karo (Answer the phone). I will get u from graveyard also (sic),” the message read.
"Don't worry you will be soon at the right place (sic)."
The one-sided messages went on for half an hour around midnight, said Aquib.
"Zameen say Nikal doun ga (I will dig you from the ground). Kub tuk chopoo gay (how long are you going to hide). Am coming to university tomorrow. Will take you to task. (sic)"
Another message read: "Tahreek (separatist movement) ka mama hay kya (are you related to the separatist movement). Who gave you permission to play with my honour and upload vedio on social media. Either prove I am wrong or apologise, Otherwise be ready for consequences (sic)."
Soon after the video went viral, the Awami Ittihad Party, which Rashid heads, without any consideration for Aqib's safety, alleged that he was an "RSS worker" in a Facebook post, falsely claiming that Aqib was a worker of another former legislator, Imran Ansari, who defected to the Sajad Lone-led People’s Conference.
Though the original post has been removed since, the post is still available on the Facebook page of Malik Tariq, AIP president of Pattan constituency (in north Kashmir). When contacted, Tariq maintained that Aqib was Ansari's worker regardless of whether he was a native of south Kashmir's Shopian district. Tariq alleged that the act was "pre-planned" and also claimed that Aqib had visited Rasheed for help after "he had gone missing from the university sometime back".
"If you do something, you have to pay for it," he said, alleging that Aqib used abusive language against Rashid. He also maintained that the university student was Ansari's worker regardless of the fact that he was a native of south Kashmir's Shopian district.
Tariq also alleged that the act (video) was "pre-planned" and also claimed that Aqib had visited Rashid for help after "he had gone missing from the university sometime back".
Rashid, however, refused to comment. “I don't know anything about it,” he said.
Earlier, Ansari had termed the Peoples United Front, a political alliance between Rashid's AIP and Shah Faesal-led JKPM, as a "sadhbhavana alliance", implying the State had a role to play in creating the new political front in the already fragmented Kashmir. Ansari’s comment had come in the backdrop of Rashid securing majority of the postal votes cast by soldiers in the army and paramilitary in the general elections to Lok Sabha.
The allegations by Tariq, however, has left Aqib fearing for his safety in an environment where civilians are killed for affiliations with unionist political parties and security forces. “I wasn't expecting he would stoop so low," said Aqib, saying that all he did was question the former legislator as he had doubts over his motives.
"Does he want azadi as he sometimes makes us believe, or, does he believe in (Indian) democracy?” asked Aqib
“As an individual I don't understand his motive,” he said, adding, "If he accepts the Indian constitution, that is okay, but if he still tells us he is pro-azadi, attends funerals of both militants and policemen. Then I'm confused about what he wants."
"What is on the inside is not on the outside,” said Aqib.
Updated Date: Jun 25, 2019 09:54:36 IST