Oppn walks out over border casualties

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Jammu, January 23

Opposition parties National Conference and Congress on Tuesday created uproarious scenes in the J&K Assembly over the alleged failure of the government to protect the lives of border dwellers from the heavy shelling by Pakistan along the International Border and the Line of Control.While criticising the ruling PDP-BJP government for taking “no action” in the cross-border shelling, opposition legislators chanted anti-government slogans and sought immediate government help for the affected people. They also staged a walkout from the House to register their protest.As soon as the House began its proceedings for routine business, NC and Congress members were on their feet and rushed to the front row to draw attention of Speaker Kavinder Gupta towards human loss and damage to civilian property in forward areas. “We visited the border areas yesterday where the situation is quite serious. So far, 12 people have been killed, domestic animals have perished and agricultural fields have been destroyed. The government is doing nothing. We strongly oppose this kind of government approach,” said Congress legislator Nawang Rigzin Jora.He was supported by his party colleague Ghulam Mohammad Saroori, who termed the situation due to cross-border shelling as “war-like” and alleged that the poor were the worst affected.NC legislator Mian Altaf suggested that the government should form a team of MLAs who could visit the border areas and take stock of the situation. “This government has failed to protect the lives of people,” shouted Congress MLA from Banihal Vikar Rasool while alleging that there was no seriousness towards border people. Another NC MLA Ali Mohammad Sagar expressed surprise over “conflicting” statements coming from the PDP and BJP over the border flare-up.“Your Member of Parliament (MP) Jugal Kishore claimed that they had got Rs 450 crore for construction of bunkers while the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti has been opposing bunkers and appealing for peace along the border and close relations between two countries,” Sagar said while questioning the stand of the “ruling parties”. The opposition members were countered by the BJP with ‘anti-Pakistan’ slogans who demanded that a resolution condemning Pakistan for killing “innocent civilians” on borders should be passed unanimously.In the midst of the commotion, opposition members walked out of the House.BJP state chief Sat Sharma, supported by other MLAs, sought a unanimous resolution from the House to condemn Pakistan for killing innocent people on the border. His move, however, did not find any support from PDP legislators and ministers besides Congress and National Conference legislators.At least 12 persons, including five BSF and Army jawans, have been killed and over 50 injured in Pakistani shelling since January 17. Over 40,000 border people have migrated to safer places while 200 animals have perished.

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