Inquiry report on Handwara killings: NC stages walkout

SRINAGAR: The opposition National Conference on Monday staged a walkout from the legislative assembly to protest against the government’s delay in tabling probe report on Handwara killings, promised by the speaker Kavinder Gupta.
As soon as the finance minister Haseeb Drabu got up from his seat to present budget proposals, the NC legislators and MLA Langate Engineer Rashid began shouting slogans. They were demanding tabling of magisterial inquiry report on the killing of five persons including a lady in north Kashmir’s Handwara area last month.
Speaker Kavinder Gupta had last week assured the House that the report would be presented in two days.
The opposition members raised the issue last week and attempted to disrupt the proceedings. They were demanding the magisterial inquiry report that was ordered after a local girl was molested by a soldier triggering protests. Five civilians including a woman were killed in indiscriminate firing by the government forces.
Chief minister Mehbooba Mufti had assured justice to the victim families. However, the government is delaying the report.
Rashid came into the well of the house to register his protest. “Who fired upon the civilians in Handwara? Was it the army or the police? We want reply from you. Six-days have passed since your assurance,” he asked the speaker.
Legislators Devinder Rana and Ali Mohammad Sagar also stood up demanding inquiry report interrupting Drabu’s speech. Later Kavinder Gupta said that on account of holiday on Sunday, the report could not be tabled. “Wait for one or two days,” he said.
Senior PDP minister Abdul Rehman Veeri attempted to pacify the opposition members but to no avail. The house returned to order and Drabu’s voice began to prevail when the NC members, led by Omar Abdullah staged a walkout.
However, Rashid raised the pitch and tried to make a counter-speech from the well of the house. He was warned by the speaker to behave or he would be compelled to ask the marshals to send him out of the house. When Rashid ignored the speaker’s admonition, the marshals were asked to bundle him out.
Earlier, when the proceedings of the House began, congress legislators demanded investigations into the death of a boy in Kishtwar. PDP minister Abdul Rehman Veeri told the congress legislators led by GM Saroori that the issue will be looked into. Saroori alleged that army shot dead a Gujjar man who has been washed away in a local river after being shot. His turban and other belongings have been found on the banks of river. Saroori said that armed shot at him when he was asked to stop but he ran away.
“Let the body be retrieved. The investigations will follow,” Veeri said.