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PDP to boycott JK assembly's autumn session

September 30, 2010 17:23 IST

Opposition People's Democratic Party on Thursday said it will boycott the entire summer session of the Jammu and Kashmir legislative assembly to protest the deteriorating law and order situation in the Valley, in which over 100 people have died and thousands have been injured.

"We will not attend the rest of the session of the assembly as a mark of protest against the killings and solidarity with the people," PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said in the assembly, which met in Srinagar for the 12-day summer session.

Mehbooba was speaking during the obituary references of the former legislators, the victims of the Ladakh cloudburst and those killed during the ongoing unrest.

PDP legislators were present in the House with former chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed making a rare presence.

All PDP legislators, except deputy Speaker Sartaj Madni, staged a walk-out soon after Mehbooba finished her 25-minute speech. Asserting that the sanctity of the House had been eroded, the PDP president said, "The assembly had an important role to play and the minimum the government can do to restore it is to provide justice to the families of the victims of the situation."

Referring to reported arrangements made by Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone in case of unruly scenes in the House, Mehbooba said, "I know you had made arrangements but this (situation) has gone beyond raising a hue and cry."

Criticising the Omar Abdullah-led government, she said the major partner in the alliance, National Conference, was talking about restoring the identity of the state.

"The schools are to be opened and announcement comes from Delhi, youth are released on orders from Delhi and even the curfew is relaxed on orders from Delhi. Even the rate list for compensation is fixed from Delhi," she said.

Mehbooba said it was unfortunate that the students were used as tools to prove a point. "Whenever there is any disturbance in any part of the world, schools are closed first. Who would want to send children to school when so many students have been killed in the past three months?" she asked.

She said the house members were not even in a position to condole or sympathise with the families of the victims as "we have been able to do nothing for them". "We are not even worthy of taking their names, we have done nothing. The least we could have done is to take action against in those cases where the culprits have been identified," she added.

In an apparent reference to accusations against her party that it only wanted to unseat the NC-Congress government in the state, Mehbooba said, "We have seen governments come and go but nobody wants to be in the government at this time as too much blood has been spilled."

The PDP president said the present government had shrunk the space for the mainstream politicians in the Valley.

"I was able to visit the bereaved families -- be it that of militants, surrendered militants or informers -- when the National Conference ruled from 1996 to 2002. But today we are turned away because people, who voted in 2008, have lost faith in this institution," she said.

Commenting on the decision to release the youth arrested on charge of stone pelting, she pointed out that more youth were still being arrested on same charges. "How many youth were arrested last night," she asked.

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