Srinagar: Senior leaders of the main opposition party, the National Conference (NC), led a protest march on Saturday against the continuing incidents of braid-chopping in Kashmir. The NC leaders and party workers first assembled inside the premises of their party headquarters at Nawh-e-Subah shopping complex near Zero Bridge. Senior leaders Shameema Firdous, Nasir Sogami and Mubarak Gul addressed the workers, who were carrying placards, banners and party flags.
The workers cheered each time the leaders took jibes at Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti. The official statement issue to the media said, “She (Mufti) has completely given in to the elements who have wreaked havoc in our society and has so far failed to take necessary measures to contain this explosive situation, which has reached to such crescendo that male members are not leaving their homes fearing for the safety of their family members who have been left at the mercy of god in this government.”
The NC leaders and workers later took out a march shouting slogans like “Stop Hair Cuttings”, “Wake up Mehbooba Mufti”, “Stop playing with the dignity of women”, “Nagpur policy not accepted”. NC General Secretary Ali Mohammad Sagar along with Nasir Sogami, Akbar Lone, Mubarak Gul and Shameema Firdous led the march. They sat down on the main road near Radio Kashmir crossing and blocked it. Women party workers sang songs against the chief minister and accused her government of promoting a blood bath in Kashmir.
Addressing media persons, Ali Mohammad Sagar blamed the government for the hair-cutting incidents. “If there is some agency or group involved in the hair-cutting, it is the job of the government to expose them and bring the truth before people,” he said. “The situation has reached such a level that people are now catching hold of innocents. What happened in Sopore yesterday, we condemn it… The government has an intelligence network, police, and other resources, but because they have failed to nab the culprits, I believe it is the government that is to be blamed for this mess.”
The workers later stood up and moved forward. They were intercepted by police near Sher-e-Kashmir Park. Scores of male as well as female workers pushed policemen and removed barricades in order to proceed further. They argued with police officials saying that they should rather support them as hair-cutting could happen to their family members as well.
“This is the matter of our dignity and you, too, must stand with us. Hair-cutters can enter your house, too, and cut the hair of your family members, too. Think about those whose hair was cut; aren’t they your mothers and sisters?” an elderly women told a police official. The protesters then went back to their party headquarters in a procession, chanting slogans against the government.