After 4 Days, PDP Targets Govt Over Kashmir Arrests, Afzal Hanging

After 4 Days, PDP Targets Govt Over Kashmir Arrests, Afzal Hanging

13 February 2014
Greater Kashmir
Abhinav Verma

Jammu: Unruly scenes were witnessed in the Legislative Assembly for the third straight day Thursday with opposition parties stalling the proceedings on different issues. While the principal opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) created uproar over the arrest of dozens of youth by police in Kashmir in the past four days, the BJP and National Panthers Party created repeated disruptions over the power crisis in Jammu and demanded resignation of the junior power Minister Vikar Rasool, before staging a walkout from the House. As the opposition members were raising their respective issues, PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said: “Menu Gal Karn Doh Phir Tussi Be Karao (let me raise a issue first, then you can speak)”. She was pointing towards BJP leaders. As soon as the House met this morning, the opposition members from all parties stood on their chairs to raise their demands, triggering commotion. Mehbooba Mufti targeted the government for detaining hundreds of youth in Kashmir in the past few days and demanded they should be released immediately. “I want to ask the government what was their crime? When will they be released?” she asked. Intervening during the Question Hour, she said Kashmir has been virtually converted into a prison “where only Govt and its apologists enjoy freedom.” “There is a genuine sense of alienation among the people as teenagers are arrested under draconian laws and the place has been virtually handed over to police and security forces,” she said. The Leader of Opposition said the entire Kashmir was under siege for the past three days (on February 9, 10, 11) and people were subjected to sufferings. Kashmir witnessed severe restrictions for the three days in the wake of shutdown called by pro-freedom leaders to mark the hanging anniversaries of Muhammad Afzal Guru and Muhammad Maqbool Bhat. Mehbooba said Guru was hanged secretly and not allowed to meet his family before his death. “The State Government was kept in loop by the Government of India about his hanging and his family was not informed despite standing directions from the Supreme Court,” she said. Seeking Home Minister’s reply, another PDP MLA, Nizamudin Bhat, said the two youth have been detained under PSA in district Bandipora namely Arif Hussain Wani and Aftab Ahmed. “North Kashmir’s Bandipora town is observing complete shutdown today against the arrest of two youth by police recently,” he said. The Speaker Mubarak Gul requested the members to allow proceedings to continue as he would ask the government to respond. “This is a serious issue and I will ask the government to respond to it,” he assured. The BJP and NPP legislators created uproar over the power crisis in Jammu. “It takes the department weeks together to get a damaged transformer repaired. Many areas are reeling under darkness for the past 20 days and the government is not concerned,” said Ashwani Kumar of Jammu State Morcha, as legislators from BJP and NPP beat desks seeking response from the Government. “Jo Sarkar Bijli Na Dey Woh Sarkar Nikamee Hai,” BJP’s Ashok Khajuria and other opposition members repeatedly raised the slogan. NPP’s Harshdev Singh sought response from the government on the utilization of the funds kept for Operation and Maintenance procedures of the transformers by the PDD. “We want to know where and how are the funds utilized? Scores of areas in Jammu are without electricity for the past many days and the Department is unmoved,” Harshdev said. The opposition members continued with their protests despite assurances from the Speaker that he would direct the government to ensure people do not suffer. “Please sit down, I assure you I will issue directions to the government over the matter,” said the Speaker. However the legislators continued to create unruly scenes and sought the resignation of the MoS Power Vikar Rasool over the matter. “Why shall he resign? What is this?” the Speaker responded to their demand, asking them to sit down on their seats to allow the House to function smoothly. Failing to get proper response, the opposition legislators staged walkout from the House.