Prominent Kashmiri separatist featured on banner celebrating Indian women achievers
In a major embarrassment for the Indian government, a Kashmiri separatist leader, Asiya Anderabi, erroneously features on a banner put up by the Jammu and Kashmir tourism department as a top woman achiever along with former Indian prime minister Indira Gandhi, Catholic nun Mother Teresa, Indian-origin astronaut Kalpana Chawla and legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.
The banner was displayed at an official function in restive Anantnag district's Kokernag town as a part of the Central government's "Beti Bachao Beti Padhao" programme. It describes Anderabi as the founder of the Dukhtaran-e-Millat (daughters of the nation), a separatist organisation and a part of the separatist All Parties Hurriyat Conference.
The BJP, which jointly governs Kashmir with the People's Democratic Party, has called for an inquiry and wants the officials involved to be suspended.
The function, attended by officials and ministers including chief minister Mehbooba Mufti's brother Tassaduq Mufti, was organised for promoting tourism in the Breng Valley which surrounds Kokernag.
The Integrated Child Development Service falls under the social welfare department headed by BJP minister Sajjad Lone.
Child Development Programme officer of Anantnag, Shameema Akhtar, was quoting as saying by a media oulet that a watchman of Breng village had placed Anderabi on the banner after she instructed him to arrange for a banner showing female icons.
One of the prominent women separatists in Kashmir, in 2015 Asiya Anderabi hoisted the Pakistan flag and sang the Pakistani national anthem in Kashmir. She also has links with with Hafiz Saeed, chief of the Pakistan-based terrorist organisation, the Jamaat-ud-Dawa, media reports said.