Refuting reports about his remark over people of Kashmir, whom he allegedly dubbed as 'maha chor', Union Minister Farooq Abdullah on Monday said he was misquoted by the media.
"Kashmiri (people of Kashmir) are not only thieves, but maha chor (biggest thieves)," Farooq had said at a function in Delhi on Sunday over the issue of power theft in the country.
"I had never said that Kashmiris are maha chor (big thieves)," the Union minister today told reporters.
"There is lot of pilferage of power. Many of our people are stealing electricity. But I never said anything like that Kashmiris are thieves," he said.
He said, "It (pilferage of electricity) happens all over the country. Biggest transmission and distribution losses are in Jammu and Kashmir."
Expressing dismay over the media reports, Farooq said, "I am sad that I was misquoted by the media."
The Union minister said, "I had said that it is unfortunate that we buy power for nearly 2-3 thousand crores, but we are not able to get that money back because there is a lot of pilferage of power. Many of our people are stealing power."
Farooq said, "two days ago while speaking on power situation, I had spoken about power pilferage, but I didn't say anything like 'We Kashmiris are maha chor'. Of course, the biggest power operations loss is in Jammu and Kashmir. I have been saying this all the time."
He alleged that since the elections were near, "a newspaper tried to create misunderstanding in the minds of the people by publishing this".
On PDP leader Mehbooba Mufti's demand for apology, he said, it was Mufti who should apologise for spreading lies.
PDP members, led by Mufti, today created ruckus in the J&K Assembly and trooped into the well of the house demanding an apology from Farooq.
Image: Union Minister Farooq Abdullah