Attack on truck causes uproar in Kashmir assembly

Srinagar, Oct 10 (IANS) Ruling coalition and opposition members were locked in heated exchanges in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly on Saturday over a bomb attack on a Kashmir Valley-bound truck that left two men battling with burns.

Agitated opposition legislators accused the PDP-BJP coalition of trying to fan communal flames in the country’s only Muslim-majority state.

When the house met, National Conference legislators, backed by the Congress and independents, demanded a reply from the government over the attack at Udhampur on the Jammu-Srinagar highway.

As opposition members stood up trying to speak at the same time, Abdul Majeed Larmi of the National Conference walked close to the speaker’s chair to protest.

There were heated arguments between National Conference members and those of ruling Peoples Democratic Party and the Bharatiya Janata Party.

Independent legislator Engineer Rashid, who was beaten up by two BJP legislators on Thursday for hosting a beef party, said the “assembly has lost credibility” and termed its members as “living corpses”.

Senior minister Abdul Rehman Veeri tried to pacify the opposition and said their concerns were genuine. But he asked them to listen to the government’s view. “We condemn the attack,” Veeri said.

He said that around 11.45 p.m. on Friday, a group of miscreants hurled some combustible material on the truck. Two men from the Kashmir Valley who were in the truck received burn injuries and were rushed to a Jammu hospital for specialized treatment.

“Three accused have been arrested and a manhunt has been launched to nab the other miscreants involved in the attack,” said Veeri, replying on behalf of the government.

The opposition was not satisfied with the reply and said such incidents had the potential to harm communal harmony in Jammu and Kashmir.

As the opposition continued to protest, senior National Conference leader Ali Muhammad Sagar had a heated exchange of words with BJP legislators and said: “You want to fan communal fire in the state.”

Veeri said the state police chief will visit the attack site on Saturday and promised a fair investigation.

But the entire opposition including the National Conference, Congress, Rashid and others walked out in protest.

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