Wednesday, November 7, 2001, Chandigarh, India

National Capital Region--Delhi

J A M M U   &   K A S H M I R

AICC protest against NC govt
M. L. Kak
Tribune News Service

Jammu, November 6
Led by the President, All-India Youth Congress, Mr Randip Surjewala, a large number of Congress leaders, workers and supporters staged a protest demonstration here today, demanding the ouster of the Farooq-headed National Conference government and recall of those Central ministers involved in the Tehelka scandal.

The protest demonstration was organised by the Youth Congress, headed by Mr Yogesh Sawhney. The dissidents in the state unit of the Congress lent their support to today’s show of strength by the party.

The protesters defied Section 144, CrPC outside the Civil Secretariat complex and more than 100 party leaders and activists were taken into custody.

The police had raised a barrier a few furlongs from the Civil Secretariat. The moment the protesters neared the secretariat, they were arrested. Among those held were Mr Randip Surjewala, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, vice-president, Mr Yogesh Sawhney, Mr Ashok Sharma, Mr Balbir Singh (both MLAs), Mr Raman Bhalla, Mr Yashpal Khajuria and Ms Laxmi Dutta and others. They were released in the afternoon.




The protest march was organised against the “failure” of the BJP-led NDA government in the Centre and the National Conference Government in Jammu and Kashmir to deliver the goods.

Mr Randip Surjewala said the National Conference had been responsible for allowing the demand for trifurcation of the state to raise its head in Jammu. He said with regional autonomy in mind, the National Conference had caused a fear among the people in the Jammu region that the state was being divided into eight parts on communal grounds.

He ridiculed Dr Farooq’s alliance with the NDA and said it was strange that he had joined hands with those who favoured the abrogation of Article 370.

Other leaders, including Mr Ayub Khan, Mr Mangat Ram Sharma, Mr Yogesh Sawhney and Mr Raman Bhalla, said: “We want distribution of political and economic power among the three regions and not division of the state.”

They said the slogan of greater autonomy and regional autonomy was fraught with serious consequences and the Sheikh-Indira Gandhi accord of 1975 should be the final political arrangement between the state and the Centre.

Mr Raman Bhalla demanded that the next Assembly poll be held under Governor’s rule if the Centre wanted free and fair elections.

A senior dissident leader said: “This rally has revealed our strength in alliance with the Youth Congress.”

The Congress leaders said since the Vajpayee and Farooq regimes both had lost credibility, they should quit and allow a “truly representative government” at the Centre and in Jammu and Kashmir.”

Supporters Supporters of separatist leader Shabir Ahmad Shah being chased away by the police during protest demonstrations in Srinagar on Tuesday. — Photo Amin War.


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