National Conference on Monday sought judicial probe by a sitting High Court Judge into the killing of Ishtiyaq Choudhry, a youth leader of Kalakote in Rajouri district, allegedly by a VDC member, describing it as a political murder.“Truth needs to be dug out, as the murder appears to be a sinister machination of muzzling political dissent”, Provincial President Devender Singh Rana said while addressing a press conference at Sher-e-Kashmir Bhavan here this afternoon.Rana said the murder has been committed by a government gun, held by a VDC member, and the fact that the kin of the victim’s family were given compensation as also assurance of job testifies that there is more than what meets the eyes. He said raising voice against irrational distribution of rations does not merit death. “The crime of Block National Conference President Kalakote appears to be just to speak for the exploited poor people of the area”, he said and expressed concern over growing incidents of lawlessness under PDP-BJP dispensation. He also wanted to know whether silencing of Ishtiyaq Choudhry was an attempt to shield anyone with a larger political design carried out under a well conceived conspiracy.
The Provincial President said that the gruesome murder has created anguish in the party cadre of the area and senior National Conference leaders were camping there to monitor the situation and to cool down tempers. “As a responsible political party we are doing our best to ensure that situation does not go out of control but at the same time we want to emphasise need for a thorough judicial probe to unmask the real perpetrators”, he said adding that the people have right to know who was calling the shots under veils.To a question whether the murder was a handiwork of ration mafia, which has become active for the past few months, Rana said this can be ascertained only a judicial probe. He, however, expressed concern over the atmosphere of fear being generated to muzzle the political dissent. He said the coalition dispensation seems to believe in the doctrine of ‘my way, our way or a highway’, which, in any case, was against the democratic spirit. He said National Conference cannot be bogged down by coercive tactics and asserted, “we are ready to offer any sacrifice for upholding democratic values”. He said history is replete of instances when National Conference stood for the just cause of people and officered numerous sacrifices.
While seeking time-bound judicial probe, the Provincial President asserted that no amount of compensation or jobs is going to compensate the precious loss. He said National Conference was sharing the loss of the family, as Ishtiyaq Choudhry was a promising and upcoming leader of the area, who could have emerged as a potential threat to many bigwigs. He said the senior party leaders are visiting the area to express solidarity with the family and to instill sense of confidence among the people, who feel jittery due to undemocratic tendencies of the present PDP-BJP coalition.In reply to a question about the murder being a deliberate attempt to target political workers, he said the democratic way of life in the state is not that fragile which can be trampled. “Having said that, we feel that the credible and vibrant National Conference will always strive for welfare of the people of the state which seems to be making the present state government uncomfortable”, he added.The Provincial President was flanked by State Vice Presidents Syed Mushtaq Ahmed Shah Bukhari, Rattan Lal Gupta, Th Kashmira Singh, Provincial Youth National Conference President Ajaz Jan, Provincial Vice Presidents Juggal Mahajan, Choudhry Haroon, Anil Dhar besides Co Chairman OBC Cell Abdul Gani Teli and District President Urban Dharmveer Singh Jamwal. (KNS)