Memories of the 2007 terror attack in Kashmir on tourists from Gujarat made both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad emotional in the Rajya Sabha on Tuesday, as the House bid farewell to Leader of Opposition Azad who is among four members retiring from the Upper House this month.
The Prime Minister recalled the incident to highlight the humane side of Azad.
Modi, who was the then Gujarat Chief Minister, recalled that tourists from Gujarat had been attacked in Jammu & Kashmir and then J&K Chief Minister Azad was the first to call him to inform him about the incident and Azad was crying and his tears would not stop.
“I will never forget Azad’s efforts and Pranab Mukherjee’s efforts when people from Gujarat were stuck in Kashmir due to a terror attack and the same night, Ghulam Nabi ji called me from the airport about the despatch of the bodies,” Modi said.
Azad while remembering the same incident, just two days after he became J&K Chief Minister, said “this was the terrorists’ way of welcoming the CM and at the airport, when I reached one child who had lost his family members grabbed my legs and I too cried loudly – ‘Oh God, what have you done? How will I answer these children, these people who came to visit and were on a leisure trip and are going back with bodies.”
A visibly moved Azad during his speech said that he prays that militancy is finished in the country.
Azad said he was always supported by Kashmiri Pandits and during his tenure as Chief Minister he had said no one would work in partisan ways.
The Prime Minister, while referring to Azad’s contribution to politics and the House, said: “You are retiring from the House, but I will not let you retire and my doors are open for you and will need your contribution and advice.”
Modi said the person who will replace Azad will have a tough task to match his contributions. “He is concerned about his party but more about the House and the country,” said the Prime Minister.