January 2018 News

Oppn Stages Walkout Amid Uproar Over Civilian Killings

3 January 2018
Kashmir Observer

Jammu: The Opposition disrupted the proceedings of the Budget Session of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly on Wednesday and walked out of the House after Speaker Kavinder Gupta refused to allow discussions on the deaths of civilians and the poor security situation in the state. The Congress, the National Conference, and legislator Yusuf Tarigami of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) interrupted Governor NN Vohra's address to both Houses of legislature. The parties had earlier moved an adjournment motion asking the Speaker to suspend all the business of the House and discuss the law-and-order situation in Jammu and Kashmir. About 400 people were killed in militancy-related violence in 2017. Legislators from the Congress accused the government of Mehbooba Mufti of weakening of the Panchayati Raj Act and asked it to 'restore the spirit' of the law. Nawang Rigzin Jora, the leader of the Congress Legislative Party, said the government had left the door open for horse-trading by not implementing the 73rd Constitutional amendment, which advocates decentralised planning and gives more powers to panchayats, in the state. Jora said the Opposition boycotted the governor's address as the government had violated Constitutional provisions by not holding the session within six months. 'They held the session for three days in Srinagar to pass the GST Bill, that was not a proper session,' he said. The National Conference said the government had brought Jammu and Kashmir to a situation where its identity and Constitutional status were being challenged. 'The present dispensation has failed to protect the special status guaranteed to the state and its people under Article 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India,' MLA Ali Mohmmad Sagar said. Later, to placate the Opposition parties, Speaker Kavinder Gupta decided to allow an hour-long discussion on civilian deaths in the Valley in 2017. A spokesperson for the ruling People's Democratic Party, Naeem Akhtar, criticised the Opposition's 'unruly behaviour' and said the state was suffering because of their misdeeds as they had 'sowed the seeds of the venom of terrorism in the past 50 to 60 years'.