Srinagar, Oct 7 (IANS) Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah Monday stressed the need for ascertaining the veracity of claims by former army chief V.K. Singh about paying out politicians in the state as these "jeopardized the mainstream polity".
He was speaking in the assembly which later passed a resolution seeking investigations into V.K.Singh's allegations after a heated, over three-hour long debate that saw members, cutting across party lines, expressing serious concern over his contentions.
Abdullah told the assembly that he wrote to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Sep 25 seeking a time-bound and transparent probe to ascertain the facts and share them with the people as the allegations were "jeopardizing the mainstream polity in Jammu and Kashmir and creating suspicion in the minds of people" about the army's role.
He read out the text of his letter to Manmohan Singh, in which he wrote that the news has "spawned a great deal of anger in the public in general and the political class in particular" in the state.
He also called for investigations of the "serious" charges, which raised suspicion against all mainstream politicians and "allowed forces inimical to the democratic processes here to paint all mainstream politicians as paid operatives of the Army".
Abdullah requested that the defence ministry be asked to share the report with the state and also disclose the names of the people to whom the money has allegedly been transferred so as to "restore, to a significant extent, credibility of mainstream political parties/members amongst our people".
He stressed the need for the central government to institute a probe into the matter in a time-bound and transparent manner.
Abdullah also sought to clarify that asking questions to the retired army chief should not be dubbed as belittling the army's role in safeguarding borders and ensuring the people's safety and security.
He said the mood of the house to censure Gen. (retd.) V.K. Singh for his statements made in public as a private person should not be painted as any attempt at criticizing the Indian Army.
Abdullah said he has not asked Agriculture Minister Ghulam Hassan Mir whether he has taken Rs.1.19 crore for toppling his government.
"I leave this to his conscience whether he has taken it or not, but if I had believed that he has taken it to topple my government I would have asked him to resign," he said, quipping that even a municipal corporation could not be toppled with Rs.1.19 crore.
He said the disclosures made by the former army chief have put the democratic institutions in the state to most dangerous threat.
"The retired general's differences with me or his opposition to AFSPA revocation is irrelevant in this regard. For that matter, the serving army chief has also not agreed to the partial revocation of AFSPA," he said.
Taking part in the debate, opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti said Delhi must change its mindset towards Kashmir and start trusting Kashmir's leaders and people.
Senior ruling National Conference (NC) leader Mustafa Kamal demanded Ghulam Hassan Mir must tender his resignation from the state cabinet without wasting further time.
Independent legislator Engineer Rasheed said the issue has cast a shadow of suspicion on all the ministers in the state and it should be treated as "alarming and highly disturbing".
Assembly Speaker Mubarak Gul has, however, reserved his decision whether the issue should be referred to the house privileges committee or should the assembly summon the former army chief to explain his position before the house.