Peoples' Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mahbooba Mufti and senior leader Ghulam Hassan Mir on Thursday gave slip to their security guards and visited the holy shrine of Zainuddin Shah at Aishmuqam near Pahalgam without any security.
The two PDP stalwarts left their government accommodations in capital Srinagar's most secured zone Gupkar early in the morning on Thursday without giving any inkling to their security guards and traveled down 80 km to pay obeisance at the shrine.
The PDP leaders also visited the house of Imam of local Jamia Masjid, who passed away last week, and expressed sympathy with the bereaved family.
Mahbooba Mufti enjoys Z Plus security while Mir, who is a former minister, is also a protect person.
"We, both, (Mehboobaji and I) visited the holy shrine without any security. We did not also use the bullet-proof vehicles allotted to us by the government and went into our personal cars," Ghulam Hassa Mir told the Hindustan Times. He said that moving without security was "in pursuance to our written request to the chief minister to withdraw our security".
The PDP leadership requested for withdrawal of security on Tuesday when chief minister stated in the assembly that those who pleaded for demilitarization should first turn away their security.
It bears mention that the PDP, which is a partner in the state government, has been the harbinger in demanding the withdrawal of army and other paramilitary troops to barracks and giving the police major role in counter-insurgency operations.
This is for the first time that any mainstream political leader visited any area of the valley without security since militancy erupted in the valley in 1990.
Chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is yet to respond to the PDP move. However, senior Congress leaders feel that the PDP was trying to make political capital out of the issue.
"The chief minister's remarks were a general statement. It was not directed towards any particular group or party", said Abdul Gani Vakeel, senior vice president of the Congress. "The PDP is a partner in the government. They should behave responsibly", he said.
"On, one hand, they want to enjoy the perks of power and, on the other, want to shirk from responsibility. You cannot eat the cake and have it too", he said.