New Delhi, Oct 4 (IANS) Drama unfolded at a tourism event here on Tuesday as Delhi Minister Kapil Mishra asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti if she considered slain militant Burhan Wani a terrorist and said that tourism and terrorism cannot co-exist. An emotional Mehbooba hit back by referring to crimes against women in the capital and how her state was the “safest” place for them in the country.
However, even before the Chief Minister could respond, Mishra, refusing to share the stage with her, walked out of the event after his comments.
“Can tourism and terrorism go together? How will tourism grow in India? Before leaving she (Mehbooba) has to tell us if she considers Burhan Wani and Afzal Guru terrorists,” he said.
Some people in the gathering stood up to protest and asked Mishra to desist from making such remarks.
But he said he would leave only after saying what he has to, and it would not take much time.
“It cannot happen that you (Mehbooba) do not accept that Burhan Wani was a terrorist, and seek boost in tourism,” Mishra said.
“You say (executed Parliament attack convict) Afzal Guru is not a terrorist, and that he should not be hanged. And then you seek boost in tourism. How will tourism grow? It won’t grow.
“It is very painful that terrorists are being treated as tourists in Kashmir…. I don’t feel like sharing the stage with Mehbooba Mufti, I will go out,” he said before stalking out.
In response, Mehbooba Mufti referred to the increasing number of crimes against women in Delhi.
“Of all the places in the country, girls and women are the safest in Kashmir. They cannot be raped in a moving car. They move around in shikaras and houseboats,” she said.
“Kashmir needs you, I don’t know whether you need us. Biggest confidence building measure is if you visit our state; it will show that you trust us,” she added.
Referring to beauty of Indian democracy, she gave instances related to life of her father and late Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed.
She said when a group of Pakistani journalists visited the state, they were surprised to see how situation was far better than what was portrayed to them.
She said they also visited Kashmir University where they witnessed slogan-shouting by students who later returned to their classes.
She said that at a dinner later with her father, the Pakistani journalists expressed surprise at how easily the hostile slogan shouting was tackled and situation eased after students returned to their classes.
She said her father told them that it was a reflection of the depth of India’s democracy.
The event, the ‘Bharat International Travel Bazaar’, also attended by Union Tourism Minister Mahesh Sharma and Delhi Lt. Governor Najeeb Jung, was co-hosted by the Delhi government.
Later, addressing reporters, Mishra said: “If Mehbooba doesn’t answer these questions, then the BJP will have to answer. What is the compulsion to keep such people on the chair who don’t love the nation, and don’t recognise Burhan and Afzal as terrorists.”
Asked if the party agrees with his views, the Minister said that not just his party, but the entire nation, including RSS, is asking these questions.
“Mehbooba Mufti is anti-national… She is not willing to say ‘Bharat Mata Ki Jai’. She is not willing to say Burhan Wani and Afzal Guru are terrorists. It is betrayal of the nation to keep her sitting on the CM’s chair,” he added.
Reacting to Mishra’s remarks, the BJP dubbed Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leaders as “anarchists”.
“This party is working like an anti-national party, whether it is the case of Jawaharlal Nehru University or the case of its Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is acting and speaking as the spokesperson of Hafiz Saeed,” Delhi Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) unit chief Satish Upadhyay told IANS.