Jammu and Kashmir government’s decision to implement National Food Security Act (NFSA) in the state has triggered protests in Srinagar.
People took out protest rallies in Lal Chowk and adjacent areas, and demanded its revocation.
The decision came after a cabinet meeting headed by Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed earlier this month. Mufti had earlier said, “We have decided to implement it (National Food Security Act) from February 1, 2016 in the state.”
According to protesters, authorities were complicating the registration of family members for getting rations under the Act by linking the registration with bank accounts, Aadhaar cards and other such formalities.
Anti-government protests were held at Tankipora, Habba Kadal, Abi Guzar, Maisuma and Bemina.
People said the bill would reduce ration for the poor from 35 kg to 5 kg.
“The mess has been created by the much hyped NFSA. We demand its immediate revocation,” they said.
Police claimed that the protesters had blocked roads in the Budshah Chowk commercial area, shouting slogans against the government.
The police used a baton charge and tear gas shells to disperse the crowd.
Due to these protests, traffic movement came to standstill which gave a tough time to motorists and commuters.
It was believed that implementation of this act which create uproar and political debate in the sensitive state like J&K. But the state government decided to go with this Act.
Earlier, the state’s chief minister replied positively when asked whether the Central legislation was coming to the state in its totality, without being routed through the state legislature in view of the state’s special status.
“There is no need of a legislation. It is a development Act.”
Later, Education Minister Nayeem Akhtar, Education Minister said that only the state government’s consent was needed for extending any Central legislation to Jammu and Kashmir.
“This consent had been given by the then government in 2013,” Akhtar said.
National Conference, which was in the coalition government in the state in 2013, denied giving consent to implementing the Act in the state.
Party spokesperson Madan Mantoo said J&K is the only state where implementation of Food Security Act would have resulted in loss instead of benefit to the people.
“Its implementation was not allowed by then Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and the National Conference will not allow its implementation until people of the state are set to benefit from it.”