National Conference (NC) workers, led by former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, today took out a massive protest rally against the PDP-BJP government in the state, breaking police barricades and braving baton charge to reach Srinagar’s historic Lal Chowk.
Mr Abdullah led the rally from Sher-e-Kashmir Park, where hundreds of his supporters from across the Valley were waiting for the NC working president, to highlight the “failure” of the state government which completed 100 days last week.
As Mr Abdullah began to walk from the venue along with senior party leaders, NC workers, including women, jostled to catch a glimpse of their leader – giving security personnel a tough time to deal with them.
The NC workers, carried placards and shouted slogans against Chief Minister Mufti Sayeed and his government for allegedly failing to mitigate the sufferings of the people of the state, especially the victims of the last year’s flood.
The rally stopped at Regal Chowk where Mr Abdullah addressed the workers from atop a vehicle.
“We want to remind Mufti sahab of the promises he made. All decisions regarding Jammu and Kashmir happen first in Nagpur, then with Modi ji and then here,” said Omar.
Describing the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed-led regime as a non-starter, the agitating National Conference (NC) activists vociferously demanded a change.
As soon as the NC working president finished his speech, he announced the rally would move towards Lal Chowk – the nerve centre of the city.
His announcement, which took everyone by surprise, was prompted by a police barricade at Regal Chowk aimed to stop the rally there itself and not allow it to move towards Lal Chowk.
“We had planned the rally up to Regal Chowk only. But seeing this police bus in the middle of the road acting as a barricade to stop us from going towards Lal Chowk, I have now decided that we will move towards the city centre,” he told the rally.
As soon as the announcement was made, NC workers ran towards Lal Chowk breaking the police barricade, thereby prompting police to resort to mild baton charge.
The police again tried to stop the rally near the Press Colony and then near a private school, but failed to push back the march.
The NC workers then reached the historic ‘Ghanta Ghar’ (clock tower) where Omar, in a symbolic gesture, waved his party’s flag and then left.
An enthusiastic worker tried to hoist a flag at the clock tower but was prevented by police resulting in a minor scuffle. The rally then dispersed peacefully. (Agencies)