The budget session of the legislature began on a stormy note on Tuesday, with opposition parties interrupting the governor NN Vohra’s address to the joint sitting of legislators and also staging a walkout against civilian killings and “mis-governance” in the state.
As the governor was about to start his address on the opening day of the budget session, the National Conference and Congress legislators stood up from their seats and raised anti-government slogans over civilian killings by government forces in Kashmir and the “governance-deficit” in the state.
While National Conference MLAs and MLCs protested against the civilian killings, the Congress legislators took on the government over what they called subversion of democratic institutions in the state, discrediting Panchayati raj institutions, rampant corruption, and other governance issues confronting the people.
MLA from Langate constituency Er Abdur Rashid was on his toes before the governor’s address and protested outside the House against use of force on civilians in Kashmir.
Carrying placards and banners which read “stop human rights violations; stop civilian killings” and “restore spirit of Panchayat raj institutions”, the opposition legislators created a pandemonium in the House when Vohra was about to start his speech.
“Qatil Sarkar Hai Hai (down with killer government), Zalim Jabbir Sarkar Hai Hai (down with atrocious government),” NC’s Ali Muhammad Sagar, Abdul Majid Larmi and Showkat Hussain Ganie shouted.
Amid ruckus, veteran National Conference leader Muhammad Shafi (Uri) submitted a memorandum to the governor highlighting therein the “failures” of the government. Among other issues, the memorandum refers to the “threats” to J&K’s constitutional identity and “failure” of the government to prevent the loss of civilian lives in Kashmir despite repeated assurances of exercising restraint and ensuring accountability.
As the governor began to address the lawmakers, the sloganeering became even louder.
“There is no end to human rights violations in Kashmir. The people are feeling insecure,” the opposition lawmakers repeatedly shouted.
Amid pandemonium, the National Conference and Congress lawmakers staged a walkout from the House and sat on a ‘dharna’ outside the legislature complex.
Inside the House, Rashid continued with his protests over human rights violations in Kashmir and countered the governor’s speech with his witty remarks.
“You (governor) are being misled by the government. Your words do not match with the ground realities,” Rashid said.
Talking to reporters, NC’s Ali Muhammad Sagar said that the coalition government has “failed” on every front.
“The government has let loose a reign of terror in Kashmir. There is no end to civilian killings, crackdowns, nocturnal raids and arrests of young boys,” he said.
Congress legislature party leader Nawang Rigzin Jora accused the government of making a mockery of the institution of assembly and eroding its sanctity.
“The government failed to convene the assembly within six months as is required under law. It is constitutional subversion,” he said, adding that the government is “scared to face the opposition.”