Mehbooba faces embarrassment as ‘azadi’ slogans reverberate in govt function

Mehbooba faces embarrassment as 'azadi' slogans reverberate in govt function

J&K Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti was on Tuesday forced to leave a women’s function here at SK International Convention Center (SKICC) when the participants shouted pro-freedom slogans and flung chairs and empty bottles in the air. Though the protests by women belonging to self-help groups (SHGs) broke out at the venue early in the morning, the organizers, according to eyewitnesses, managed the situation and persuaded the protesters to come inside the venue to attend the function organized by the Rural Development Department.

“As the Chief Minister reached the venue, scores of women in the back rows started shouting anti-government slogans and flung chairs and whatever they could get hold of,” a group of women told media outside the venue. “We were cheated by the Rural Development Department. We had been told to attend a training program on UMEED scheme but not told about the Chief Minister’s function.”

Soon, the women started coming out of the venue, raising pro-freedom slogans while the function was still on. As the number of the protesting women swelled outside, the sloganeering grew intense. Amid the chaos and sloganeering, the Chief Minister was hastily escorted out of the venue by her security guards.

Some videos of women protesting and raising pro-freedom slogans went viral on social media instantly. While scores of women continued raising slogans, many others were seen running out of the venue, hassled, for safety. Reports said some women fainted during the chaos and they were shifted to hospital.

The event was organized as part of Jammu and Kashmir State Rural Livelihoods Mission (JKSRLM) in which around 15,000 women had being brought for participation.

An official statement in the evening said the Chief Minister expressed her disappointment over the “poor arrangements” made at the venue where around 12000 women belonging to these SHGs from different parts of the Valley had come to meet the Chief Minister and interact with her.

“The Chief Minister expressed her disappointment to the organizers for the lack of basic facilities at the venue like drinking water, sanitation or medical help for the women who had come for the meeting,” said the statement. “Many women fainted at the venue due to nausea or lack of proper space for them of which the Chief Minister took a serious note.”

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