A National Conference delegation today met Governor N N Vohra seeking his immediate intervention in safeguarding the rights of the people across the Valley who are being "harassed and subjected to mass repression under the fig-leaf of law and order measures."
The delegation, led by senior NC leader and former Minister Sakina Ittoo, while expressing grave concern and sorrow over the loss of innocent lives, apprised the Governor about the unprecedented mass arrests, slapping of PSAs, destruction of paddy harvest, nocturnal raids and large scale harassment of civilians across the valley, said a statement.
The delegation also briefed the Governor about the arbitrary closure of the Banihal tunnel and demanded that it should be kept open 24 hours every day – as was the established norm during the tenure of the previous Government.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Sakina Ittoo while emphasizing on the need to ensure innocent civilians are not harassed and tormented said: "An atmosphere of fear and repression has been created in South, North and Central Kashmir. Apart from the terrifying and frequent nocturnal raids, a new and inhuman way of punishing people has been initiated which includes targeted burning of paddy crops. This is being done on a daily basis," adding, "Around 8000 people have been arrested out which 800 have been slapped with PSA.
There are visible indications that a policy of political victimization is being perpetuated as an unofficial policy with people of a particular political party being targeted without any basis or legal justification. We apprised the Honourable Governor about these issues."
The delegation also comprised of senior leaders and legislators including MLA Pahalgam Altaf Kaloo, MLA Homshalibug Abdul Majeed Bhat, MLCs Ali Mohammad Dar, Dr Bashir Ah Veeri, Showkat Hussain Ganaie, Qaiser Jamshed Lone and Senior leaders Mir Saifullah, Javed Ahmed Dar, Peer Mohammad Afaq and Provincial Spokesperson Imran Nabi Dar.
The Senior NC Leaders said the delegation also highlighted other concerns and problems faced by the people in different parts of the Valley, including the arbitrary announcement for board exams without taking the ground situation into account. "When not even 40% syllabus has been covered in schools, the Government in order to portray a perception of normalcy wants to inflict the students to an unrealistic and unfair challenge that would seriously affect their future," the delegation said.
Meanwhile, National Conference leader MLC Qaiser Jamshed Lone as a mark of protest boycotted the District Development Board meeting Kupwara. He said, "Government has misplaced priorities. When it should be working towards bringing the State out of violence and chaos, the State Government is more interested in photo opportunities. Conducting such meetings in present circumstances is useless."