IAS officer to find out cause of ‘commotion’, fix responsibility within 15 days
Srinagar: A day after thousands of women forced the hasty retreat of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti from an official function at the Sher-i-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) here, the state government on Wednesday ordered an inquiry into the circumstances that led to the “commotion and unruly situation.”
Women brought to the function at SKICC had raised pro-freedom slogans and thrown chairs and water bottles in the air when Mehbooba Mufti came to the venue. The chief minister was escorted out by her security guards through a small opening in the tent that had been erected to accommodate nearly fifteen-thousand women. The women who were invited to the function said they had been “deceived” by the organisers, the State Rural Livelihood Mission J&K, which had told that they were going to Srinagar to attend a training programme and would be given free cooking-gas connections.
“Sanction is hereby accorded to the appointment of Shailendra Kumar (IAS), Commissioner Secretary Industries and Commerce Department, as Inquiry Officer to inquire into the circumstances which led to commotion and unruly situation, besides damage to the infrastructure during the function organised by the State Rural Livelihood Mission, J&K, at SKICC on 16-5-2017,” reads the government order issued here.
“The inquiry shall, inter alia, include fixing of responsibility on the officers/officials of various departments/organizations charged with the smooth conduct of the function, but having failed to discharge their duties/assigned functions scrupulously,” the order said, asking the Inquiry Officer to complete the inquiry and submit report along with recommendations within 15 days.
Witnesses said that women started protesting at the gate of the SKICC itself and refused to enter the campus, saying they were brought to the venue “deceitfully”.
“We had been called for an UMMEED (NGO) function, and not told that Mehbooba Mufti will be here,” said an angry lady who was among the women who left the venue raising slogans of Azadi.
An official statement in the evening said the Chief Minister expressed her disappointment over the “poor arrangements” at the venue where women had come to “meet the Chief Minister and interact with her.”
“The Chief Minister expressed her disappointment to the organizers for the lack of basic facilities at the venue like drinking water, sanitation or medical help for the women who had come for the meeting,” said the statement. “Many women fainted at the venue due to nausea or lack of proper space for them, of which the Chief Minister took a serious note,” it added.