Srinagar: Campaigning in the Kashmir Valley has not been a cake walk for top brass of the pro-Indian camp. They have been greeted with stones and strikes at several places ever since the electioneering for the Lok Sabha elections picked up.
On April 11, former Chief Minister and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) patron, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed faced hostile crowds in Shopian as angry mobs threw stones at the motorcade he was leading. Mufti was campaigning for his daughter and president of PDP Mehbooba Mufti.
The town also observed shutdown to protest Mufti’s arrival. Mufti had to take shelter in the nearby Police Lines till the angry youth dispersed.
Same day in Shopian town, people attacked BJP vehicles with stones that resulted in injury of three people. A BJP leader said at least six of their vehicles were damaged in the attack. “Our worker Fayaz Ahmed from Dooru, Anantnag suffered injuries,” he said. But a police official termed it as a minor incident.
The incumbent Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah faced a similar situation at volatile Tral town on April 17. He was greeted with a complete shutdown in the town that has remained a bastion of pro-freedom camp.
Heavy security arrangements were put in place a day before Omar’s visit. CRPF men were deployed on roads and search operations were launched in different areas including Asthan Mohalla, Lurgam, Aarigam and Lalgam. The Chief Minister was scheduled to address a rally at Bajwani but the venue had to be shifted to Town Hall where a thin crowd heard him.
While the Tral people ‘entertained’ the Chief Minister, PDP leader Tariq Karra’s cavalcade was stoned at Brien, Nishat in Srinagar outskirts. As Karra was addressing a handful of people, mostly his supporters, outside local Jamia Masjid, people pelted stones on the PDP supporters who ran for cover. Amid chaos, various PDP vehicles suffered damages and the leaders and supporters retreated from the place without offering any resistance.
On April 19, the Minister for Higher Education, Mohammad Akbar Lone could not enter his native village Shahgundoo as protesters denied entry to him. Lone was scheduled to address his workers in the village. However, he was forced to flee from the village by angry people. The protesters also pelted stones on the minister’s vehicles. Several people including a few policemen sustained injuries.
On April 20, the people of Dangerpora in Sopore disallowed an election rally at Eidgah. Reports said that locals of Dagerpora forced the National Conference-Congress alliance workers to remove the stage from the Eidgah after youth pelted stones on workers besides the stage.
Interestingly the NC and the PDP have accused each other of sabotaging their rallies.