Party to focus on Kupwara Handwara belt
Srinagar: Awami Itehad Party (AIP), led by Engineer Rasheed, has wound up its party activities from central and southern Kashmir.
According to the party workers and lower rung leaders, the AIP has told them to disengage from the party and its activities as it intends to consolidate its position in Handwara-Kupwara belt in northern Kashmir.
“We have been working hard to strengthen the party on the ground,” a former AIP leader told Kashmir Reader. “Few weeks ago, some of us were communicated officially while some were told verbally that they are at liberty to leave the party as AIP has decided to wind up its activities in central and south Kashmir”.
The worker termed the AIP message to workers and district presidents as a “shock”.
“The party has slowly increased its presence in Srinagar, Anantnag, Kulgam, and Shopian,” the worker said. “The people who left the party include the spokesman, district presidents and youth leaders”.
The former workers claimed the decision was taken in the aftermath of NIA raids.
The Langate legislator, who is considered as a fierce critic of the state and an ardent advocate of right to self determination, has been hogging headlines and dominating space in prime time Indian TV debates.
He was called by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) to Delhi in connection with a probe in an alleged terror funding case.
An AIP leader, who is still part of the party, said the party has to wind up its activities due to financial issues.
“Our finances were down,” the leader said. “So we could not sustain our activities. The second thing was ideological. We wanted people who are more ideologically oriented towards the AIP. These were the main reasons for curtailing our activities”.
Asked about the development, Rasheed said that the party was concentrating more on the quality than on numbers.
“The ideology of our party is intact,” Rasheed said. “People have lost hope in the political system. Hence we need to restore it by using the services of committed people. We will continue to raise the voice of the people”.
He said that the AIP would focus on north Kashmir, more specifically Handwara –Kupwara area.
“We have to increase our activity in north Kashmir since our maximum votes are concentrated in that area,” he said.
Er Rasheed, MLA Er Rashid
|Member of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly|
December 25 2008
|Born||Sheikh Abdul Rashid|
(1967-08-19) 19 August 1967 (age 50)
|Political party||Awami Ittehad Party|
|Alma mater||Government Degree College Sopore|
Engineer Rashid (Urdu;انجینیر رشید) born Sheikh Abdul Rashid (Urdu;شیخ عُبدالرشید) is a Kashmiri Politician and Member of the Legislative Assembly in the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir (MLA) from the Langate constituency in Handwara. He is also referred as a firebrand lawmaker of Jammu and Kashmir. Rashid joined politics in the year 2008 and stunned political observers by defeating senior National Conference and Peoples Democratic Party leaders Sharif Din Shariq and Muhammad Sultan Panditpuri by 210 votes. He also won from the same constituency in 2015. He is the founder and 'patron' of the Jammu and Kashmir Awami Ittehad Party.
Engineer Rashid was born on 19 August 1967 in small hamlet of Mawar in Langate of Kupwara district in the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India. He is the elder son of a retired government school teacher Khazir Mohammad Sheikh.
Early life, Education and Career
Engineer Rashid studied up to class 10th in Mawar.He passed the high school examination in the year 1983.He completed his 12th as a science student from Govt. Higher Secondary School, Handwara.He is the alumnus of Government Degree College, Sopore,where from he graduated in Science.He completed 3 Year Engineering diploma from Government Polytechnic College in 1991.In September 27, 1993, he was appointed as assistant manager (equivalent to junior engineer) in J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC)—a semi government construction corporation.He was considered honest person.
Rashid started political career in the year 2008 after resigning from his job as a construction Engineer. After a 17-day campaign he won the constituency seat of Langate in Handwara town in Kupwara district of Jammu and Kashmir. 
In the year 2005, Rashid was arrested by SOG in Srinagar for supporting militants subsequently jailed for three months and 17 days.A charge of anti national activities was slapped on him.He was kept in Cargo, Humhama and Raj bagh prisons.Later Chief Judaical Magistrate Srinagar dropped all charges against him on humanitarian grounds.According to Rashid he was arrested by motley group of counter-insurgents that worked closely with the State police and took him to interrogation centre, where he was “interrogated.” After five months of custody, he negotiated his release, paying up Rs. 1.5 lakh by selling his cow and some land.
On October 8, 2015 Engineer Rashid was assaulted by BJP MLA's inside the Jammu and Kashmir assembly for hosting a party where he served beef on the lawns of the government circuit with a view to oppose the controversial central Government order banning the Beef in India.
He was also attacked with ink in Press Club New Delhi by BJP cadets a day after his critical comments regarding the lynching of a Kashmiri truck driver in Udhampur.