J&K: Opposition parties stage a walkout alleging state govt of discriminating against valley

Srinagar: National Conference and Congress on Monday staged a walkout from the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly in support of independent MLA Sheikh Abdul Rashid's allegation that the PDP-BJP government was discriminating against Kashmir Valley and favouring Jammu region.

 J&K: Opposition parties stage a walkout alleging state govt of discriminating against valley

File image of Naeem Akhtar. Facebook

Rashid had raised the question whether the government had any plans to set up an IIT and an IIM in Kashmir at par with Jammu region of the state. Minister for Education Naeem Akhtar in his reply said the IIM was sanctioned to Jammu under the Prime Minister's Reconstruction Plan and there was a possibility of setting up an out-campus in the Valley.

"The matter of IIT and IIM would be taken up with the Government of India at appropriate time after the establishment of main campus at Jammu," he said. Raising supplementary to his question, Rashid asked whether the government would sanction these institutes for the Valley only after local people take to streets as was done in Jammu while demanding an AIIMS hospital for the region.

"The AIIMS hospital was sanctioned for the valley but you sanctioned another AIIMS hospital for Jammu after an agitation there. Do you want people of Kashmir to do the same," he said. The minister defended the government's decision to have separate AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir regions, saying they were required to improve the healthcare sector of the state. Akhtar said admissions to IIT and IIM were open for students from all regions of the state as well as from the rest of the country.

His remarks infuriated Valley-based MLAs from National Conference and Congress who staged a walkout from the house. They alleged PDP came to power on the promise of ending regional discrimination but was fuelling it against the people of Kashmir.
Rashid also later walked out of the house.

National Conference (NC) members also staged walkout twice from the Legislative Council against encroachment of Wakf land in Jammu and failure of the government to table inquiry report of Handwara incident. The first time the NC legislators staged the walkout was after their demand for constituting a House Committee to probe the encroachment of Wakf land at Gole Market in Gandhi Nagar in Jammu was rejected by the government and Legislative Council Chairman Anayat Ali.

The issue of the encroachment was raised by Bashir Veeri who demanded setting up of a House Committee to probe the whole matter. His demand was supported by all of his party colleagues.

However, the demand was rejected by the government which assured the House that the land would be vacated. Minister for Roads and Buildings Abdul Rehman Veeri said there is a need to look into the matter and gradually the land would be retrieved.

"What you could not do in 40 years, why do you expect the Minister to do it now," he told the opposition NC members. The opposition members were not satisfied with the minister's reply and walked out from the House. They once again walked out of the House after party NC MLC Qaiser Jamsheed Lone raised the matter of killings in Handwara following molestation charges, saying despite government's assurance, the probe report has not been tabled in the House.

"The government said the report will be tabled in two days. However, a month has passed, but it has not been tabled," Lone said. He was supported by his party colleagues, who demanded the inquiry report be tabled. However, there was no response from either the government or the Council Chairman and the NC MLCs staged walkout from the House.

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Updated Date: Jun 27, 2016 19:04:37 IST