Jammu, Feb 2 (PTI) Expressing serious concern over downgrading of security of senior party leaders including former ministers and legislators, Jammu and Kashmir Congress president G A Mir on Wednesday demanded an immediate review of the decision to facilitate a level-playing field to the opposition parties.
He threatened to launch an agitation on the issue, alleging that while ordinary political activists of the “parties created overnight” by the government or affiliated with the ruling party are enjoying adequate security, government accommodation and free movement, Congress leaders especially in Kashmir are only allowed to move out of their homes once in a week to meet the public.
“Congress is about 137-year-old political party which has a history of sacrifice before and after independence to take the country to new heights. But today the government in power is withdrawing our security deliberately to stop us from meeting the public or raising the public issues,” Mir told reporters here.
The Congress leader said the security of senior party functionaries including former legislators, ministers, former Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) presidents and former Members of Parliament was downgraded, exposing them to the danger of terror attacks.
However, he said the party would not be cowed down by such measures and will continue to stand by the people.
Mir said he was deprived of one-room government accommodation both in Srinagar and Jammu but “we did not raise the issue even as ordinary workers of the ruling party (BJP) and those parties which were created overnight by the government were provided adequate security and government bungalows at prime locations.” “Now by withdrawing and downgrading the security of our leaders, the government has crossed the limited and we will not stay silent as the lives of our party leaders are in danger…we request the Lt Governor (Manoj Sinha) to stop differentiating people on the basis of their party affiliation,” he said.
He accused officers involved in providing security to the political activists of taking “unilateral and wrong” decisions purely on partisan bias.
“Congress party always tried to play the role of a constructive and vibrant opposition as we do not believe in negative politics,” Mir said, adding the party despite the August 2019 development when the erstwhile state of J&K was bifurcated into union territories adopted a democratic way of protest to become the voice of the public.
He said the Congress does not believe in disturbing law and order or be campaigners for disturbance.
“After August 2019 development, the government is saying that everything is alright in J&K. The ground situation is that our district presidents in the valley are only allowed to move out of their homes once in a week to attend public functions. In case of inclement weather or weekend lockdown, then they have to cancel all the programmes of that day as well,” he said.
On the other hand, he said the government’s “created stooges” are free to meet the public all the seven days of the week. “They are enjoying security and accommodation but the people are wise enough and they will decide their fate (during elections).” He said the Congress cannot be pushed back by such measures as it is living in the hearts of the public.
“We request the Lt Governor to review the security of all our leaders otherwise we have no option but to flood the roads with our activists and supporters,” he said.
Earlier, Congress chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said the security is related to the issue of threat and there should be no politics over it.
“Congress has always remained in the forefront in the fight against Pakistan-sponsored terrorism. We are playing the role of constructive opposition and therefore our leaders should be given adequate security as per the threat perception,” he said, adding there should be no pick and choose policy with regard to the security cover in a democracy. PTI TAS AB AQS AQS
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Source: The Print