Let People Decide On Truth: Sajjad

28 June 2015
Kashmir Times


Srinagar: Peoples Conference (PC-S) chairman and Minister Sajjad Lone Sunday thanked National Conference leaders, who distanced themselves from what he termed a campaign of 'vilification and personal attack' against him. As per a Srinagar based local agency KNS, about the recent interview to Economic Times and the reaction by opposition National Conference, Sajjad on the sidelines of the event, in which 'several NC men' joined Peoples' Conference, said: 'I don't react to nonsense.' On being asked about the disassociation by some NC leaders from the statement issued against him by NC, the PC Chairman said, 'Now that you have asked me this question; first and foremost let me say a heartfelt thanks to Akbar Lone. Mohammed Shafi Uri, Shareef-Ud-Din Shariq, Saifullah Mir and Qaiser Jamsheed Lone for disassociating themselves from a campaign of vilification and personal attack. Despite their political and ideological differences with me, these National Conference leaders have openly disowned the slanderous, crass and petty statement issued by their party, arbitrarily on their behalf without even caring to inform them that their names were being used for name-calling and slander against me.' Asked what he had said in the interview, Sajjad Lone said, 'I have said what I have said but it is certainly not what has been reported, rather misreported first by anonymous social media trolls and then by certain local newspapers as well. Nobody knows the allegiance and political antecedents of these self-righteous trolls but it is evident that they are employed for slander and vilification.' 'Despite a written format of the whole interview being available on the net, I am amazed how could media persons report anonymous slander on the social media networking sites,' he said. Asked which parts of the interview were 'misreported' and 'distorted' according to him, the PC Chairman said, 'On the RSS question I was asked 'Has PDP-BJP coalition helped RSS to make inroads in Kashmir?' to which I answered, and let me quote, 'In last three months it seems every wrong has happened to Kashmir. RSS was here much before. They have every right to come here if people accept them. What is the problem? It takes ages to make inroads. It's all propaganda.' Now for God's sake tell me where have I said that RSS has a birth right to be in Kashmir or that Kashmir is the best place for them or advocated anything on their behalf? On the contrary I have said that acceptability of the people is the criteria and that is a reality. I have clearly said that it's all propaganda and that it is the inalienable right of the people of Kashmir to accept or reject political parties - as they deem fit. Is that wrong? Does National Conference believe the people of Kashmir don't have the political foresight, moral will and sense of discretion to make such conscious decisions?' Sajjad Lone added. 'Then on the question of Pakistani flags being hoisted here. Again let me quote from my interview. I was asked 'How do you see the act of raising Pakistani flags?' to which I replied, and I quote, 'I would never raise a Pakistani flag. Even when I was a separatist I have never done it. I would never address a rally if a Pakistani flag would be unfurled. Honestly, if someone wants to raise the flag and is so much in love with Pakistan, my suggestion for them would be to go there and help them'. Now please tell me where and how have I said that those who raise Pakistani flags should be sent packing to Pakistan - as social media trolls and then unfortunately some local newspapers too have reported?' the PC said. 'It is for the people to decide if they want to pass judgment on the basis of what I have actually said and what was reported. And what I said was in a written format not in spoken format. It was an answer in response to a question and the answer was published in a national daily, available on net. I can understand distortion of the spoken word - but distortion of the published and printed version is certainly a new wonder to grace our state. Why can't we at least have the courtesy to go read the interview - which is online on the website of the publication - before believing what is being propagated by trolls and vested interests who are ironically and shamelessly guilty of everything and they have the remarkable audacity to blame others for,' Lone said in the continuation of his answer to the question asked. 'Whatever I do, I do it openly. I met the Prime Minister Narendra Modi openly before the elections - and gave a clear cut indication of a possible post-poll alliance in the state. Even at that time, there was a furore on social media and these shameless political voices wrote my eulogy. What happened then? We won the seats of Handwara and Kupwara and did fairly well in a few other seats as well. These is an enormous disconnect between these social media sermonizers, their reflections in the political realm and the ground reality,' the minister added. 'I appeal to the media to at least thoroughly ascertain the facts and examine the sources of such news - in this case an interview - before joining the fray of slander and vilification. The interview is out there for everyone to read and I suggest people read it before believing the propaganda about the interview,' the PC chairman said.