STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: The opposition National Conference and Congress members on Saturday staged a walkout from the Legislative Assembly over the alleged failure of the government to protect the lives of the border residents in the ceasefire violations by Pakistan.
Three civilians, two BSF personnel and an Army jawan, were killed and over 40 others injured in the heavy shelling by Pakistan along the International Border and Line of Control (LoC) in the Jammu region since Thursday.
Soon after Speaker Kavinder Gupta took the chair, the opposition members started shouting slogans against the Centre and state government and staged a walk out to protest the killings in Pakistani firing.
BJP legislators, led by state president Sat Sharma, raised anti-Pakistan slogans, while the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), attempted to pacify the opposition by promising a detailed statement on the ceasefire violations after the Question Hour.
“A comprehensive report is being prepared to inform the House,” Relief and Revenue Minister Javaid Mustafa Mir said, adding that he had already directed the home commissioner to prepare a report.
NC’s Ali Mohammad Sagar criticised the statement of Union minister Jitendra Singh and said the opposition raised the ceasefire violations issue thrice in the House yesterday and had sought a statement from the government.
Singh, the Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) had yesterday said, “Kashmir-centric Pakistan apologists owe an explanation to the nation and that there can be no pardon for them when they continue to shamelessly speak on behalf of Pakistan even on the day when the heavy civilian casualties have been inflicted on the borders by unprovoked Pakistani firing.”
Sagar alleged that the union minister tried to “mislead” people over the ceasefire violation by “baseless statements”.
“The government was apologetic for not issuing any statement on the issue yesterday,” he told reporters.
Congress legislature party leader Nawang Rigzin Jora also criticised the statement of the union minister and blamed the alleged “inconsistent policy” of the Centre for the frequent ceasefire violations.
“This government, both at the Centre and state, is confused. The state government, in particular, is in chaos and involved in infighting. In such a situation when we do not have a stable government in the state and Centre is indulged in flip-flops, Pakistan will continue the shelling to its benefit,” he said.
“Where has the 56-inch chest gone? Our people are getting killed and displaced daily and the BJP leaders are doing politics over the miseries of the people,” Congress legislator Wakar Rasool told reporters outside the House.
Meanwhile, advocating for restarting the peace process between India and Pakistan and end border skirmishes, the Jammu and Kashmir government said that the hostility between the two nations has a direct bearing on the people of the state.
“We want the restart of the process initiated by former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee to restore peace. This is the stand of our party as is the people of Jammu and Kashmir who are the worst sufferers (of border skirmishes),” Parliamentary Affairs Minister A R Veeri said, in response to concerns expressed by House members over the loss of human lives, livestock and damage to properties in border shelling.
Minister Veeri said the forward areas in five districts in the division were affected by the sudden spurt in cross- border firing, even as administration was taking all possible steps to avoid further loss of lives and damage to properties.
Later talking to reporters outside the House, Veeri said: “It is our bad luck that we are caught in such a situation.”
“The happenings on the border have a direct impact on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. We want the peace process started by Vajpayee carried forward so that peace is restored on the borders and people of the two countries live in peace,” he said.
He said the situation near border areas was being monitored.
He said Rs 50 lakh has been provided out of the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund for meeting the cost of treatment and medicines for the livestock injured in the Pakistani shelling.
The minister said an ex-gratia amount of Rs 1 lakh has been sanctioned for the family of each of the deceased in Jammu district, while an ex-gratia amount of Rs 5,000 each has been sanctioned for those injured as immediate assistance.
He said 129 animals have died and 93 animals injured in the firing along the IB in Jammu, whereas more than 700 people were evacuated to safer places.
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