Jammu: As expected, the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly opened to angry protests and much ruckus over the alleged custodial death of National Conference activist, Syed Mohammed Yousuf Shah. What was unexpected, was Opposition PDP MLA Iftikhar Hussain Ansari flinging a pedestal fan on the ground.
Mr Ansari later defended his action saying, "I had picked up the fan with the intention to hit the Speaker but Allah saved him."
The speaker of the house, Mohammed Akbar Lone, later told NDTV that he regretted the angry exchange of words that led to the fan-flinging. Mr Lone had said inside the Assembly that whoever abused him would also be abused. Mr Lone told NDTV, "I am really very sorry for what happened inside the House though I was provoked by Maulana Ansari abusing me but as a matter of fact I also reacted naturally and should have not as a presiding officer."
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah silently watched the ugly display of tempers in the House.
The crisis is provoked by the fact that a senior member of Mr Abdullah's party, Syed Mohammed Yousuf Shah, died while in police custody early on Friday morning. He was handed over to the Crime Branch by Mr Abdullah for allegedly promising two party members senior positions in the government in exchange for huge amounts of money. The main opposition party- the PDP - has said Mr Abdullah must resign. "There are allegations that he (Omar Abdullah) manhandled the person. The Chief Minister has acted as judge and jury," said PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti.
Addressing the media, the Chief minister said, "I have absolute, total and complete faith in the judicial inquiry. I will have no hesitation in presenting myself before the commission, and I will answer all questions posed to me." Mr Abdullah added that the Opposition charges were "lies beneath contempt", and said he will file a defamation suit against Mehbooba Mufti for the attacks against his person and that of his father's.
The crime branch of the Jammu and Kashmir police filed an FIR in the case today against unknown persons.
This comes a day after the National Conference government rejected demands of the Chief Minister's resignation. Rather than responding to the Opposition's allegation that Mr Abdullah was involved in the death, the government chose to offer a judicial probe.
"It's an allegation of Opposition, we can't work on allegations. We have written to the Chief Justice to appoint a sitting judge, he will write back to us and we will take it from there," said Finance Minister Abdullah Rahim Rather.
Mr Shah was allegedly involved in large scale corruption and fixing political deals. On Thursday, there was a confrontation between him, Mr Abdullah and other National Conference leaders at the Chief Minister's house where he was accused of taking Rs.1 crore from two party leaders and promising them a ministerial berth and a seat in the Legislative Council.
After the confrontation, the Chief Minister and the others handed Yousuf over to the Crime Branch. The next day, Mr Shah died, ostensibly of a heart attack.I n a huge embarrassment to the National Conference, Crime Branch Chief Raja Ajaz Ali has said that Yousuf had begun feeling nauseous at the Chief Minister's residence.