As capital shifts to Srinagar, BJP-PDP govt faces public, oppn wrath

  • Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times, Srinagar
  • Updated: May 05, 2015 23:07 IST

The PDP-BJP coalition government faced shutdown, street protests and blockades on Tuesday amid the annual shifting of Darbar Move to summer capital Srinagar from winter capital Jammu.

First time in opposition since 2002, the Congress hit the streets in Srinagar's Lal Chowk against Sayeed's dispensation.

"The PDP polarised the situation before the elections and sought votes from the people on the pretext of stopping the BJP from coming to power, but now it is the PDP which brought the BJP to the secretariat. It is an unholy coalition," Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee president Ghulam Ahmad Mir said here.

The Congress' protests march, heading towards the Civil Secretariat, came under stones as it reached Maisuma, a bastion of separatist JKLF. The police used tear-smoke shells and batons to bring situation under control after a melee prevailed for around an hour.

Just metres away, supporters of a traders' body, Kashmir Traders and Manufacturers Federation (KTMF), also attempted to march towards the civil secretariat, which saw reopening of offices on annual shifting of Darbar Move to summer capital of Srinagar for six months from winter capital Jammu.

These protesting traders were taken into preventive custody by the police. Meanwhile, the KTMF-sponsored shutdown call over the BJP-PDP government's failure to provide succour to flood-affected traders and locals saw most shopkeepers staying away from their daily businesses.

"Thousands of flood-affected traders are waiting for compensation even after seven months of the floods. The 40% out of 35,000 traders are yet to revive their businesses," said KTMF president Yasin Khan.

The PDP-BJP coalition government is sitting on the Rs 44,000 crore relief package after the previous government submitted it to the Centre.

Tuesday's third protest march was attempted by legislator Engineer Rashid, who was bundled up by the police. He had called for 'Secretariat Gherao March' against the BJP-PDP government's move to establish separate townships for Kashmiri Pandits.

The occasion also saw BJP supporters holding banners to welcome deputy chief minister Nirmal Singh to the Valley.

The PDP-BJP government is facing sharp scrutiny from the local media in the Kashmir Valley. The widely-read local daily, Greater Kashmir, published page-one editorial on the coalition government titled 'Waiting for Government'.

"The PDP's choice to go with the BJP - though still a raging subject of debate in the Valley-received a grudging nod from its constituency in the hope that only such an arrangement could facilitate early rehabilitation of the flood-hit and restoration of the damaged infrastructure.

"But two months into the government, the coalition gives every appearance of having lost its track. Not only is the much-hyped agenda of alliance falling apart with BJP refusing to keep its side of the bargain, there is no knowing when the rehabilitation will begin-that too now eight months after the deluge sank Srinagar...," read the editorial.

The Sayeed government was mired by controversies since it took over the reign on March 1, especially on Pakistan and separatists.

In an attempt to send a tough message to separatists now, the chief minister on Tuesday placed aging hardline Hurriyat chairman Syed Ali Geelani under house arrest after Pakistan flags were unfurled in his public rally.

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