BUDGAM/SRINAGAR: Around ten thousand people were part of the orderly scenes at Baskshi stadium in Srinagar, the venue for the main function, attended by CM Mufti Sayeed, to mark the Indian independence day. But not all of them were simply people
joining in the celebrations; quite a part of the crowd was ‘arranged’, said sources. ‘Around a thousand CRPF in civvies were part of the ‘general public’, and many were workers of political parties,’ said an official, on condition of anonymity. “Actually”, another source revealed, “around 2,500 PDP workers in around 150 vehicles, with an armed escort, were dispatched to Bakshi stadium from Budgam.”
At the function held at Budgam stadium, many employees who had been ‘carted’ to the even could be heard complaining, “We were told action would be initiated against us if we don’t attend the event, right from 7 am at Budgam stadium. I wasn’t willing to come,” said an employee of the education department. But, he said, he had to leave home at 5am to ensure he reached the venue on time because of the diktat.
“We have been forced to come here to show the media that Kashmiris are with India. There is curfew and people are protesting; this is actually a black day for the people of Kashmir but we have to be here on pain of suspension,” said another employee of the education department. This department it seems comprised the bulk of the attendees, apart from security staff and school children – who, a teacher revealed, were also ‘required’ to be there. “I didn’t really want to come, but didn’t want an issue with my job. Our whole department was ordered to turn up,” said a female Kashmiri Pandit employee.