Thursday, May 24, 2018 | 1:19 AM

Mehbooba Mufti greeted with Azadi Slogans at function in Srinagar, forced to leave

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was forced to leave a women’s self-help group (SHG) function held in Srinagar on Tuesday when it degenerated into an impromptu protest, leaving the government red-faced.

Mehbooba, who was hastily escorted out of the venue by her security, sought to downplay the incident and told reporters that her government was trying to help the women and she would continue her efforts in this regard.

“The trouble started very early at the gates of SK International Convention Centre (SKICC) where the event was being held when women participants, mostly from South Kashmir, refused to enter after seeing the welcome signs for Chief Minister. Many among them said that they had been brought to SKICC deceitfully.”

The agitated women raising pro-Azadi slogans, were whisked away before the chief guest arrived but that was not the end of the trouble. The anger was evident when Mehbooba reached the venue where thousands of women from various self-help groups had gathered, an official said.

The function had been organised by the Rural Development Department.

Soon after the programme began, a group of women at the back of the hall got up and started shouting slogans against the chief minister. Water bottles and few chairs were also flung in the air, leading to chaos.

According to media reports, rumours of an earthquake started as soon as the unruly scenes began. This led to panic with many participants running towards the exit.

The chief minister was rushed out by her security staff.

Reports said that at least 15 women fainted during the chaos. While they were being brought out, the scene added to the confusion with many presuming them to be dead.

Sources said that as soon as chief minister appeared in the lawns of SKICC, surrounded by her guards, the angry participants threw whatever they had, including water bottles and other furniture towards her.

The function was postponed for sometime. It continued later, but without Mehbooba, a PTI report said.

“We were given to understand that this is a purely non political event,” said angry Shahzada Akhtar, who had come from Chief Ministers home town, Bijbehara.

“We had been called for some UMEED function and not told that Mehbooba will be there,” said another angry lady who was among hundreds of women who left the venue raising slogans “Hum Kya Chahtay Azadi”.

Many participants said that they were cheated by the officials. “We had been told to attend a special training programme, but here we were informed that Chief Minister will address them. This is sheer exploitation,” CNS quoting a woman participant reported.

Source: Kashmir Observer