Biharis, SPOs in The Rally

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SRINAGAR: PDP Workers, migrant labourers from other parts of India and casual employees of the J&K Govt. formed the bulk of the audience for what was touted as a public rally by the establishment.

A significant number of labourers, hailing from Bihar, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, were seen at the stadium. 

As the presence of PDP workers increased, and drew the attention of the media, PDP workers pushed the ‘Biharis’ to the stadium’s back rows.

The enthusiastic PDP workers also shouted slogans hailing Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and party president Mehbooba Mufti.

Well known author and Chartered Accountant, Abdul Majid Zargar wrote on his fb page that the carpenter he had engaged for the work at home was waylaid to the rally.  “I inquired from my Bihari carpenter, Uzzair, the reason of his absence from work currently going on in my residential house. The laborer replied, “ It was that early in the morning at 8-30 AM when I & my team were proceeding for work,  when Police & CRPF people huddled them in a truck at Rambagh and dropped them at Stadium. ‘Did they pay you some money”, Zargar asked the carpenter? Oh No sir. Instead ,we had a tough time getting our mobiles back . We only saw few persons distributing money among local Kashmiri villagers,’ replied Uzzair, the Bihari carpenter.

Manoj Kumar also hailing from Bihar said: “I have been brought here forcibly from my rented room in Rambagh.

He said it has caused him a loss of Rs 400 which he would have earned at work.

Rakesh Kumar, a carpenter from Gorakhpur, said he was brought to the venue of the rally while he was heading to work in Sanat Nagar locality of the city. 

The PDP members of Legislative Assembly who have brought the workers to the rally included Syed Altaf Bukhari, Abdul Haq Khan, Mohammad Abbas Wani and Imran Reza Ansari.

Among the audience in the rally were Special Police Officers of the state police, daily-wage workers and Anganwadi workers.

“We have been promised regularisation. That is why I have come to attend the rally,” Abdul Hameed, who claimed to be working as SPO in north Kashmir, said.

Anganwadi workers had similar stories to tell, but refused to reveal their names. Former Chief Minister and opposition National Conference working president Omar Abdullah yesterday alleged that the state government has issued instructions to its employees including police personnel and daily-rated workers to attend the prime minister’s rally.

“Colleagues tell me that their JK police guard has been drastically scaled down & the personnel ordered to participate in the 7th Nov rally (of the prime minister),” Omar wrote on micro-blogging site Twitter.

He also claimed that similar instructions were issued to SPOs, Anganwari workers and daily wagers as PDP workers are reluctant to attend Modi’s rally.

“Similar instructions given to SPOs, Anganwari workers & daily wagers to make up the numbers for PM’s rally because PDP workers reluctant,” Omar said. “How else will they make up the numbers & produce a gathering for the cameras & channels?” he added.

No mobile internet 

Earlier, mobile internet services in the Kashmir Valley were blocked in the morning as a “precautionary measure” in view of the Prime Minister’s scheduled rally. With Hurriyat leaders having given a call for a “million person” march against Modi, the authorities feared the internet might be used to mobilise people even though a large number of separatist leaders had already been placed under house arrest.

An officials said all service providers had been directed to disconnect mobile internet services from 10 am till the Prime Minister leaves the Valley. However, broadband services on BSNL were working.

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