The Opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP) briefly locked one of the exit gates of the Civil Secretariat, which houses the office of the Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister, here on Thursday to protest the government's “inaction” in protecting the lives of the people and restoring order in the Kashmir Valley.
Accompanied by a dozen MLAs and party leaders, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti led the protest in the Assembly complex. The leaders held up placards highlighting the alleged atrocities on women and children.
Ms. Mehbooba locked one of the exit gates of the Secretariat in a symbolic act to highlight that the government had become dysfunctional. Several Ministers and officials were in the Secretariat at that time. But the security staff broke open the lock after she refused to hand in the keys. This created a scene on the premises for some time. The protesters left the Secretariat later.
Talking to journalists later, Ms. Mehbooba said: “The government is dysfunctional and has let loose a reign of terror on the masses. The Secretariat lockdown is a step to make the government have a taste of the siege laid by the government to the valley by the government.” She pledged support to the relief programme being implemented at various places to help those who got stuck up in frequent strikes and restrictions.
She alleged that the government had brought life to a standstill and economic despair to the entire society, especially the weaker sections. “This regime also stopped the relief collected for people affected by the strike and restrictions. We will help in collection and distribution of relief.”
“We demand the immediate release of all 1,400 youngsters who have been arrested by the government. The arrests are continuing even after the government set up a committee to release the detainees,” she said.
Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar said it was not the proper way to register the protest.
“They should behave as a responsible Opposition party and put forth their views in a democratic manner, and not like the drama they enacted today,” Mr. Sagar told The Hindu. The PDP, instead of playing to the galleries, should adopt a dignified way to whatever they have to say.