Azad wants NC leader punished for anti−India remarks

Jammu, Nov 17 (IANS) Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here Saturday demanded stern action against National Conference (NC) leader Mustafa Kamal for terming India as an "enemy" country.

Azad rejected the clarification given by union New and Renewable Energy Minister Dr. Farooq Abdullah and his brother Kamal on the issue. Abdullah termed the utterances of Kamal, an NC additional general secretary, simply as "irresponsible".

"I have seen the compact disc in which Mustafa Kamal has clearly said that − he (Kamal) had no hesitation in saying that India is our enemy country, Pakistan is not," the minister said on the controversial statement at a function.

There is no question of the statement having been blown out of context as Kamal later claimed, Azad said.

A person who himself is spokesperson of the party, uncle of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, should be punished for his "anti−India remarks".

"I condemn his remarks and ask NC to take action against the concerned leader of National Conference whose party is in power in Jammu and Kashmir," the health minister said.

The NC is leading the coalition−government in Jammu and Kashmir with the Congress party.

In the speech that caused the controversy, (a recording of which is with IANS), Kamal had said: "Pakistan had offered a no−war pact with India. Why does India not agree to it? If India carries on with such attitude, then I have no hesitation in saying that our (Kashmiris') biggest enemy is our own country, not Pakistan."

These comments had outraged the leaders of the Congress, alliance partner of the NC in the Jammu and Kashmir coalition government.

Later, Kamal issued a clarification and said: "My history is known to everyone, my family's legacy and my political areer of several decades is testimony to my credentials and today you call Mustafa Kamal anti−national. It deeply hurts me, what I said has been blown out of context."