Opposition protests during national anthem, Governor walks out from assembly

Opposition-generated chaos in Jammu and Kashmir assembly forced Governor NN Vohra to cut short his address and walk out of the house today even as the national anthem was playing.

The budget session had started on a stormy note. When the Governor entered, the Opposition – including members of the National Conference, Congress, CPI(M) and other Kashmir-based Independent legislators — stood up carrying placards.

When they disrupted the Governor for the third time, raising slogans and shouting, Mr Vohra cut short his address. The opposition members continued with the sloganeering even when the National Anthem started. Amid the ruckus, Governor Vohra left.

Later, the BJP demanded an apology from opposition and asked Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi to clarify their stand on disrespect to the national anthem by its members.

“This is shameful… It is the first time such disrespect has been shown to the National Anthem in Jammu and Kashmir,” BJP legislator Ravinder Raina told reporters. “We will raise the issue in Assembly and seek answers from these parties for disrespect to the anthem,” he said.

“These MLAs belonging to the opposition are experienced… I think they have lost the plot. If this is the beginning, I don’t know how they are going to conduct themselves for rest of the session,” said government spokesman and PDP Minister Naeem Akhter.

The opposition wants all business of the be put on a hold for a discussion on the five-month unrest in Kashmir last year in which more than 100 civilians were killed in police firing.

“Our main demand will be that the House first discuss the unrest of five months and the destruction and mismanagement caused… who were the people responsible?” demanded National Conference leader said Ali Mohammad Sagar.

Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti hit out at the National Conference, blaming the party for sowing the seeds of militancy in Kashmir. “This Kashmir issue, that’s returning in one form or the other from time to time… its foundation has been laid by you (the National conference) for so many years,” Ms Mufti said. “This issue has been created by you and all of us have to solve it together,” she added.

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