Srinagar: On Sunday, the ruling Baratiya Janta Party (BJP) held its first-ever ‘youth convention’ at Sher-e-Kashmir Cricket Stadium in Srinagar.
Te event began on an embarrassing note when two low-rung Kashmir BJP members indulged in verbal brawl over tress-passing in each other’s role. One member, Wasim Baari who claimed to be the district president of Bandipora, even accused his counter-part of involvement in girl-trafficking in Kashmir while the later responded by hurling choicest abuses in response.
While the drama continued for several minutes resulting into delay in the main event. It was after the intervention of policemen and senior members of the party that brought the situation ‘under control’.
As the day passed, groups kept coming from Sumbal, Gund Rehman, towns of Bandipora and Kupwara, Khansaheb, Ganderbal, Budgam and Kupwara districts and with the famous introductory chant of ‘Narayai Takbeer’ often used during resistance gatherings to charge the atmosphere, the event was formally thrown open with participants responding back with ‘Allah-u-Akbar’.
With mouth-shut women participants, majority of them covering faces due to fear of being captured in camera, ducking every question from the media persons about purpose of their presence at the event. The seemed to be abiding by the instruction given to them by the group leader, as one participant girl later confessed.
A group of youth from Bandipora and Ganderbal, cited ‘promise of work and job’ within next six months as the reason to participate in the event and claimed they have not joined BJP as its members.
70-year old Ali Mohammad of Sumbal, Bandipora was oddly one among the few dozen old men sitting in the ‘youth convention’. When asked about the purpose of his presence he refused to utter even a word. “His son might have been promised of job like all of us,” a 12th class dropout from Bandipora sarcastically, remarked.
Deputy chief minister, Nirmal Singh who was chief guest on the occasion, sought a chance from the Kashmir youth to “take Kashmir out of the uncertainty and terrorism”.
Invoking former prime minster of India Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Singh without naming any country said that like Vajpayee, current prime minister too is yearning for peaceful relations between India and its neighbours.
“But, if somebody wants to disturb the peace, we would deal with them in the same manner. Separatists want only disturbance in Kashmir and BJP wants development in Kashmir,” he said.
Attacking all other mainstream parties in Kashmir, Singh said that they are just playing politics in Kashmir and that their party is the only one that wants “development and progress of (J&K) state”.
Claiming the improvement in situation in Valley, he said that unlike the portrayal of Kashmir in Media, the situation has very much improved in Valley.
BJYM National President Poonam Mahajan, who also spoke on the occasion, said that the number of participants has encouraged her and that she is “surprised by such a huge crowd”.
“We didn’t expect that such would be the number of participants here. I would call upon youth to take an opportunity that BJP is providing to them to make Kashmir what it was famous for. We want to make that Kashmir again where Bollywood films like ‘Kashmir ki Kali’ were shot few decades ago,” she said, appealing Kashmir youth to “say goodbye to guns and stone-pelting and avail the benefits of opportunity of BJP”.
As the event went into its closure, the participants started to leave for their home but an announcement on microphone, suddenly brought them back. “Lunch has been arranged for the participants here,” buzzed out of the mike and the scenes that followed later were similar to Syrian and Yamen refugees near aid-distribution sites.
Around 1100 biryani packs and mineral water bottles had been arranged for gathering of about few hundred. After neatly and tidily distributing biryanis among participants for about 20 minutes, the participants seemingly were not satisfied with the one.
They rushed to the spot where the biryani packs had been in a vehicle parked just outside the stadium. While volunteers tried to maintain order, the hungry and angry youth plundered the biryani packs.
Few jumped over the vehicle and tried to snatch the entire case of biryani but their bid was foiled by others. Few who didn’t receive any of the pack were contended with some bottles of mineral water. They cleaned face, hair and shoes of dust and dirt with the free water.