Scores of Congress activists, including Pradesh Congress Committee president Vikar Rasool Wani, were detained on Monday here after they tried to take out a march to the Raj Bhavan over the Adani issue and alleged anti-people policies of the Jammu and Kashmir administration.
The protesters, including Congress working President Raman Bhalla and former minister Yogesh Sawhney, also chanted slogans in support of restoration of statehood and early assembly elections in the Union Territory.
“We are assembled here to take out a march to the Raj Bhavan to lodge our protest against the BJP for denying a probe into allegations of financial irregularities and market manipulation by the Adani group. The ‘Modi-Adani friendship’ has destroyed this country,” Wani said before leading the protest march from outside the Maharaja Hari Singh Park in the city.
As the marchers reached nearby Vivekanand chowk en route to the Raj Bhavan, police intervened and took many of them into preventive custody. The protesters were boarded into two buses and whisked away to a nearby police installation.
“We are also protesting against the onslaught of the Lt Governor led administration by imposing ‘anti-people’ laws since 2019 (when special status of J-K under Article 370 was revoked and the state was bifurcated into two union territories),” the JKPCC president said.
He denounced the J-K administration for imposition of property tax, launching anti-encroachment drives, growing unemployment, job scams and hiring of a previously blacklisted company to conduct computer-based written tests for filling up various government vacancies.
Bhalla said the protest was planned to press for the setting up of a joint parliamentary committee to probe allegations of fraud against industrialist Gautam Adani, growing inflation, baton charge on peaceful protestors, including students and casual labourers, restoration of statehood and early assembly elections.
Condemning the police action, Congress spokesperson Jahanzaib Sirwal said, “This is the state of affairs in J-K where a peaceful protest is not allowed.” “It (detention of peaceful protesters) is the ‘murder’ of democracy but such things will not stop us from raising the issues concerning the public and demand for restoration of statehood and early assembly elections,” Sirwal said.
The Congress leader said his party will continue to raise the public issues and expose the BJP for trying to “suppress the opposition”.