Omar Abdullah suffered major embarrassment on Tuesday when his close aide and state higher education minister Mohammad Akbar Lone publicly slapped a man who wanted to petition the J&K chief minister during an election rally at Rafiabad in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district.
Eyewitnesses said the incident happened when Omar stood up to address a rally. A youth, Mohammad Amin, stood up and tried to meet Omar to voice his grievances against the administration.
A hell broke loose as the National Conference workers tried to thrash Amin describing him the opposition’s agent. Securitymen, however, immediately rushed to the spot and whisked Amin away to save him from the NC workers.
As he was being taken out, Akbar Lone came down from the podium and chased the securitymen. Lone abused Amin before slapping him in full public view. The minister was later whisked away by his securitymen and others NC leaders.
“I had registered for a mineral water plant in 2010. It has been four years since I completed the formalities and gave 100 per cent security mortgage. The district manger and MD are trying to scuttle the project. We have invested Rs 25 to 30 lakh in this project. I have brought into the notice of the government,” said Amin later.
The incident triggered a massive outrage prompting the minister to apologize to the aggrieved youth.
"I regret the unfortunate incident in which I got into a scuffle with an individual in Rafiabad who tried to disrupt a public meeting being held there while trying to raise a personal grievance. I deeply regret losing my calm and getting into a physical scuffle with the said individual,” Lone said.
Higher education minister also tried to do some damage control by claiming that chief minister Omar Abdllah was completely unaware of the incident. “Soon after the public meeting ended, I met the concerned individual and apologized to him for losing my calm and the concerned individual in turn apologized for disrupting the public meeting in the manner that he did. The chief minister was completely unaware of this incident”, he said.
Later Omar sought and met the individual personally and assured him that his issue would be looked into through the due process after the end of parliamentary elections. “The concerned individual apologized for disrupting the public meeting and expressed gratitude to the chief minister for meeting him personally," he said.