Jammu: Opposition’s protest against the killing of as many as 100 protesters during the uprising triggered in July by the killing of Hizb commander Burhan Wani and several repressive measures taken by the government to put down the revolt, dominated the first day of the Budget Session of the assembly on Monday.
The pandemonium created by the Opposition forced governor NN Vohra to end his address midway.
When Vohra began his address, Opposition members stood up and shouted slogans against the government.
“Qatil sarkar, hai hai (down with the murderous government),” they said.
A National Conference legislator was wearing a black robes on which slogans “stop rights violations in Kashmir”, “stop genocide in Kashmir”, “release youth” had been written.
Opposition legislator Ali Mohammad Sagar raked up the issue of curfew on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha in the Valley last year following the killing Burhan.
“We won’t allow a dictatorship here. Eighteen thousand people were jailed, above 12,500 injured and 750 people slapped with PSAs,” he said.
Sagar charged the government with surrounding the opposition legislators with marshals to prevent them from raising issues.
“The government is dealing with people by Goli (bullets) instead of Boli (dialogue) and PDP is implementing the strategy of RSS in the state,” he said, adding, “Was Mufti sahib’s vision to snatch the eyesight of innocent children?”
As Vohra was speaking, the opposition members banged tables to seek his attention.
Congress legislator Nawang Rigzin Jora charged the PDP-BJP coalition with buckling under the pressure of pro-freedom leaders in the Valley.
“PDP’s definition of change is brought by goli (bullets) not boli (dialogue). Where is BJP’s Ek Nishan Ek Vidhan Ek Pradaan? Where is township for Kashmir Pandits and Sainik Colony?” he said.
The din forced Vohra to abruptly terminate his speech and leave the hall in a huff even while national anthem was being played.
On behalf of the coalition, PDP senior minister Abdul Rehman Veeri said the opposition should play a constructive role but instead “they threw placards at Vohra, bringing disrepute to the House.”
After conclusion of the joint session, Opposition created ruckus in the legislative council by raising slogans against the government over the civilian killings during the five-month long uprising.
As soon as the chairman of the House began day’s proceedings by obituary references, a united Opposition stood up from their seats jumping into the well of the House.
Holding placards, they demanded punishment to the guilty for killings and release of all prisoners including those booked under Public Safety Act.
“This house should discuss about the killings, interrogations in Kashmir. Thousands of innocent youth were injured and hundreds were maimed,” they shouted while the sitting legislators from the PDP and BJP tried to speak about references.
Later, the Opposition members walked out of the House in protest.
Speaking in the House, government spokesperson and leader of the council Naeem Akhtar criticised the opposition for staging protest saying they should have allowed mourning death of political leaders and colleagues.
“All of us should stand apolitically in the House and pay tribute to the members who are not with us today,” he said.
Speaking on the obituary references, PDP MLC Yasir Reshi hit out at opposition, demanding constitution of a committee to probe role of Opposition in the uprising.
“The role of Opposition in fuelling the violence in Kashmir during summer months should be probed by a committee. Those who are involved should be exposed,” Reshi said.
Speaking to reporters outside the assembly, senior minister
Chaudhary Zulfikar Ali said, “Trying to stop the governor from speaking is not even seen in worst kind of democracies. They (the opposition) tried to attack the governor and hurled placards at him. Terming it murder of democracy wouldn’t be a wrong.”
He credited the coalition government with handling the Kashmir uprising carefully.
“We took the Kashmir out of the six-month-long crisis. Everyone can see the state government fought the proxy war in the Valley. Unfortunately, these issues are being raked up by opposition parties here.” (With inputs from Nouman Shah)