SRINAGAR: In a major gaffe, the Jammu & Kashmir tourism department displayed a banner depicting Dukhtaran-e-Millat chief Asiya Anderabi as a top woman achiever of Jammu & Kashmir, and clubbed her along with women dignitaries like Indira Gandhi and Mother Teresa at an official function in Kokernag in Anantnag district, drawing sharp reactions from the state BJP.
The Integrated Child Development Service, ironically under social welfare department headed by BJP minister Sajjad Lone, displayed the banner under the Centre’s ‘Beti Bachao Beti Padhao’ programme at an official function organized for promotion of tourism at Breng in Kokernag, where dozens of officials and ministers were present, including Mehbooba’s brother, Tassaduq Mufti.
Anderabi has had widely reported links with Hafiz Saeed, chief of Jamaat-ud-Dawa in Pakistan. She is known to have been in regular touch with Saeed over phone and been booked by authorities under Unlawful Activities Prevention Act on a number of occasions.
Andrabi is also known for hoisting Pakistani flags on various occasions in the valley and for propagating Pakistani agenda on Kashmir. She has been patronising the brigade of burqa-clad women involved in social policing as well, besides leading pro-Pakistan and anti-India rallies here.
Shameema Akhtar, Child Development Programme officer of Anantnag, told TOI that she had instructed a chowkidar of Breng village to arrange for a banner showing female icons, and it was he who placed Anderabi as one of the heroines of the country and J&K.
State BJP spokesperson Sunil Sethi demanded an inquiry into the episode and suspension of officials responsible for the gaffe.
“BJP demands strict action against those responsible for this and seeks suspension of officials for depicting Anderabi as an icon,” Sethi said. “We removed the banner soon after it was discovered during the function,” Shameema Akhtar said.
In the poster, Anderabi is seen next to Mother Teresa. The poster also features pictures of Mehbooba, astronaut Kalpana Chawla, tennis player Sania Mirza, governor Kiran Bedi, singer Lata Mangeshkar, and legendary Kashmiri poet Habba Khatoon among other women achievers.