CM Greeted With Azadi Slogans at SKICC, Forced to Leave

Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was forced to leave a women’s self-help group (SHG) function here Tuesday when it degenerated into an impromptu protest, leaving the government red-faced.

Mehbooba, who was hastily escorted out of the venue by her security, sought to downplay the incident and told reporters that her government was trying to help the women and she would continue her efforts in this regard.

“The trouble started very early at the gates of SK International Convention Centre (SKICC) where the event was being held when women participants, mostly from South Kashmir, refused to enter after seeing the welcome signs for Chief Minister. Many among them alleged that they had been brought to SKICC deceitfully.”

The agitated women raising pro-Azadi slogans, were whisked away before the chief guest arrived but that was not the end of the trouble. The anger was evident when Mehbooba reached the venue where thousands of women from various self-help groups had gathered, an official said.

The function had been organised by the Rural Development Department.

The programme began with the "Na’at Sharief", praise for holy Prophet (Pbuh). Soon after, a group of women at the back of the hall got up and started shouting slogans against the chief minister. Water bottles and few chairs were also flung in the air, leading to chaos.

According to eyewitnesses, rumours of an earthquake started as soon as the unruly scenes began. This led to panic with many participants running towards the exit.

The chief minister was rushed out by her security staff.

Reports said that at least 15 women fainted during the chaos. While they were being brought out, the scene added to the confusion with many presuming them to be dead.

Sources said that as soon as chief minister appeared in the lawns of SKICC, surrounded by her guards, the angry participants threw whatever they had, including water bottles and other furniture towards her.

The function was postponed for sometime. It continued later, but without Mehbooba, a PTI report said.

“We were given to understand that this is a purely non political event,” said angry Shahzada Akhtar, who had come from Chief Ministers home town, Bijbehara.

“We had been called for some UMEED function and not told that Mehbooba will be here,” said another angry lady who was among hundreds of women who left the venue raising slogans “Hum Kya Chahtay Azadi”.

Many participants alleged that they were cheated by the officials. “We had been told to attend a special training programme, but here we were informed that Chief Minister will address them. This is sheer exploitation,” CNS quoting a woman participant reported.




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CM’s take on SKICC chaos

After the incident, the Chief Minister said, "Women were present in large numbers and probably one of them became unconscious which created panic."


“More than 12000 women had come to participate and it was difficult to control them and there were less arrangements of drinking water. In fact a woman fainted and other women panicked which created chaos,” Mehbooba told reporters.

“I hope that the programme will be organised again as it is important,” she said.

"I hope this programme is organised again," the Chief Minister said, adding that the incident was very unfortunate. Mehbooba said that she will reschedule the function as this event is for the betterment of women. She also appreciated the participation of the thousands of people in the event.


Meanwhile an official spokesman said in the evening that the Chief Minister has expressed her disappointment over the poor arrangements made at the venue.

Ms Mehbooba expressed her disappointment to the organizers for the lack of basic facilities at the venue like drinking water, sanitation or medical help for the women who had come to meeting, an official spokesman said.

Many women fainting at the venue due to nausea or lack of proper space for them of which the Chief Minister took a serious note, he said.



And Omar Abdullah tweets..

Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah slammed the CM over the incident and tweeted: "They "panicked" & came out shouting pro-freedom slogans! @MehboobaMufti doing what she does best - living in denial.”


“I dread to imagine what lies @MehboobaMufti tells PM Modi in private when she can't even be honest about things everyone can see videos of,” Omar tweeted.
He also retweeted a tweet of his party spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattoo.


Mattoo tweeted a video of the protest and wrote, “Women storm out of @Mehbooba Mufti’s event at SKICC and raise Azaadi slogans. Say they were coerced to attend the function. Wake up @JKPDP.”


Omar retweeted the same tweet and wrote, “This is what happens when the machinery of Govt is used for the sole purpose of rebuilding @MehboobaMufti’s non-existing credibility.”

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