Assembly Begins On Stormy Note

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JAMMU: The first day of the state Assembly’s budget session was marked by uproar over the recent hanging of a Kashmiri in a Delhi Jail with principal opposition party the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) boycotting the governor’s address, slamming the Omar Abdullah government for failing to “protect rights of the citizen of Jammu and Kashmir – Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was hanged by depriving him of his proper legal rights”.

An Independent legislator was also marshaled out of the Assembly.

The month-long budget session commenced at around 12:00 PM with Deputy Speaker Sartaj Mandi in the chair.

PDP legislators, under the leadership of Mehbooba Mufti, staged a sit-in outside the Assembly and raised slogans against the State Government. Slogan shouting PDP legislators were carrying placards reading, “Tamil Nadu Nay Inkar Kiya, Punjab Nay Inkar Kiya, Par Jammu and Kashmir Nay Iqrar Kiya” as they began walking out.

They were citing Punjab and Tamil Nadu’s strong opposition to the death penalty awarded by the courts to the assassins of former Punjab chief minister Beant Singh and former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi respectively.

They were also  questioning- Why Afzal Guru, who was in serial number 28 in the queue, was picked up and sent to the gallows without giving him the opportunity to approach the Supreme Court. 

The party legislators were also demanding that mortal remains of Afzal Guru must to be given to his family members for proper burial and last rites.

As mark of protest against the State Government, PDP legislators did not enter the Central Hall of the Assembly and boycotted Governor’s address.

The PDP has already moved an adjournment motion on the delay in returning his mortal remains. The party also demanded that the Assembly discuss the situation in Jammu and Kashmir following his execution. Incidentally, an Independent legislator was marshalled out of the Assembly on Thursday.Engineer Rashid loudly argued with the chair on the Afzal Guru issue, forcing Deputy Speaker Sartaj Mandi to order his expulsion.

Meanwhile talking to reporters PDP spokesman Naeem Akthar later said that the party has boycotted Governor’s address to register its protest against ‘inability’ of the State Government to protect rights of citizen of Jammu and Kashmir Mohammad Afzal Guru, who was sent to the gallows without giving fair trial to defend himself. 

He said that after rejection of the mercy petition Afzal Guru should have been given an opportunity to approach the Supreme Court for final petition but he was not given this opportunity. 

He said that Afzal Guru was deprived of his legal right and hanged secretly in an unholy manner. Akhtar alleged that it was failure on the part of the State Government that Afzal Guru was denied legal and constitutional rights to defend himself.

PDP spokesman said that protest was against surrender of the authority of the Chief Minister because by surrendering his authority he has made citizens of Jammu and Kashmir vulnerable and powerless. 

He said that it was also failure of the present regime that family of Afzal Guru was deprived of their right as they were not given prior information of his execution. Further, the family is still deprived of the mortal remains of their kin.

He said that the denial of opportunity for the family to have a last meeting with the Afzal Guru negated the rights provided to every citizen and violated the basic norms of decency and the State Government was responsible for it.

PDP spokesman further said that party’s protest was also against clamping of indefinite curfew in all parts of Kashmir Valley in the wake of the execution which was illegal and illegitimate.

He said that the State Government had trampled upon the fundamental right of the people of Kashmir Valley by imposing strict curfew, banning of their movement, internet, cable network and newspapers.

PDP spokesman said on these issues party had boycotted Governor as well as State Government for its failure to discharge its constitutional duties.

Spokesman of the party said the resolution has already been handed over to the Speaker for discussion on the resultant situation and delay in return of Afzal’s body, in the Assembly on Friday.

PDP President Mehbooba Mufti said the Chief Minister was misleading people of the state by merely passing statements.

Meanwhile, CPI (M) state secretary M Y Tarigami has also moved an adjournment motion in the assembly for discussing the situation in the aftermath of the hanging. “I have sent the adjournment motion to discuss the grave situation which has arisen due to hanging of Muhammad Afzal Guru for tomorrow’s business”, Tarigami said.

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