Anantnag: Authorities on Tuesday restricted movement of civilians at the Deputy Commissioner’s (DC) office here when People’s Democratic President (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti was submitting papers for the upcoming polls for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency.
Eyewitnesses said that early morning the two gates leading to the DC office were shut by the officials to restrict the movement of civilians and to ensure that the PDP president files the papers without any hassle.
While razor wire was spread close to the main gate, the other gate adjacent to the court complex was also locked down by the authorities. Scores of people, who had come from different areas of the district to get their works done, were seen cursing the politicians as well as the district administration when prevented by cops inside the complex. Some of the youth even made unsuccessful attempts to break the tin gate.
“I have come from a far flung village for some work in the Tehsil office here, but the cops are not allowing me to get inside. I am waiting here for last two hours. It’s shocking that the doors of the offices are shut for the prospective voters on the submission of forms of the candidates,” said Sajad Ahmad.
He said the people were allowed inside the DC office complex only after Mehbooba submitted her nomination papers in the afternoon.
Meanwhile, media persons working with local dailies staged a peaceful sit in outside the DC office alleging discrimination by the authorities. The protesting journalists alleged that only the media persons working for Indian news channels were allowed to cover the event while they were left high and dry.
“The officials of the district administration clearly told us that Section 144 was in force and they cannot allow more than four media men to get in. But later they allowed all the national news channel reporters and camera men,” said photojournalist Sameer Mushtaq.
Another cameraman, Muneeb-ul-Islam said, “According to the election manual they (authorities) were supposed to allow only four people with the candidate but they allowed even her cohorts to join them.”
A top official of the district administration said that since there were huge numbers of media men at the venue, only accredited journalists were allowed to cover the event. “Had we allowed all of them it would have created a mess inside,” he said.