Kashmir unrest likely to dominate Budget Session

The Budget Session of state legislature beginning on Monday is expected to be stormy with the opposition presenting a “united face” in seeking to corner the PDP-BJP Government over civilian killings in the unrest in Kashmir and other issues that have triggered resentment in J&K.

From National Conference to Congress to MLAs of smaller parties, J&K’s opposition is set to take Government head-on over the civilian killings and also on massive crackdown launched by security forces in the past five months to arrest the youth involved in protests.

The opposition is also expected to raise issues like SARFAESI Act and grant of domicile certificates – or what Government calls as identity certificates – to West Pakistan Refugees.

“We will seek answer from the Government over the killings. We will seek justice for those youth who were killed by forces,” National Conference General Secretary and MLA, Ali Muhammad Sagar, told Greater Kashmir.
He said the NC said would expose in the House the Government’s “repeated attempts to bulldoze state’s special position.”

“For the past two years, we have seen numerous attacks by the Government on Article 370. They (PDP-BJP) are responsible for uncertainty and unrest in Kashmir,” he said.

In the past five-and-a-half month long unrest triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander BurhanWani by security forces on July 8, about 97 civilians, mostly youth, were killed by security forces, around 15000 were injured and 10000 detained. Among those arrested, around 500 were booked under the controversial Public Safety Act – the law which allows detention without trial.

The second largest opposition party, Congress, is also determined to raise the issues related to the unrest. “We will raise each and every issue pertaining to Kashmir unrest in the House,” state Congress president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said.

He said the party will also raise the issue of demonetization in the Assembly, saying it has hit the common man hard in Jammu and Kashmir.

The party, Mir said, will also seek explanation from government over increase in power tariff, shortage of ration and the problems faced by people living near International Border and Line of Control.

Chairman PDF and MLA Khansahab, Hakim Muhammad Yasin, said the opposition will question the government over human rights violations and atrocities committed in Kashmir during the past five months.

“The extension of SARFEASI Act to J&K and grant of domicile certificates to West Pakistan Refugees are serious issues. We will not remain silent (on these issues) and will raise them within and outside the Assembly,” he said.

In a recent judgment, the Supreme Court ruled that SARFEASI Act was applicable to Jammu and Kashmir.
The judgment triggered widespread resentment in Kashmir with legal experts, political groups and civil society slamming the state government “for its failure to defend State’s special position in the Apex Court.”
In another controversial move, the state government started issuing domicile certificates to WPRs. The move has evoked widespread criticism from separatist groups and National Conference.