Following the implementation of the National Food Security Act, protests have swelled across Kashmir valley, especially in Srinagar as people fear their rice quota, which they used to get earlier as ration, might get cut. The government is trying to pacify people and the Consumer Affairs and Public Distribution (CAPD) Minister Chaudhary Zulikfar Ali has said that all alternatives will be discussed, including providing ration to families that are left out because of NFSA.
Protests are turning violent at many places. A youth at Qamarwari on the outskirts of Srinagar received a tear-smoke shell injury on his head. He is undergoing treatment in hospital and is said to be critical. Police had to use force in Maisuma and other localities of Srinagar against women who were protesting against the implementation of NFSA.
CAPD Minister said, “We will provide a separate scheme for these people whose ration is limited to 5kg per person per month.” According to reports, 22.30 lakh people would be deprived of government ration in Srinagar alone. Under NFSA, only 50% of the urban population would be covered and 75% of rural population would be provided subsidised ration. Even after the state government clarified that it will provide a separate scheme for the now deprived families, the agitation is only building up.
On Friday, women took to streets in various parts of Kashmir against the implementation of the scheme. The situation is taking a political colour with opposition National Conference accusing the Mufti Mohammad Sayeed government of ignoring the interest of the people of the state.
Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah has raised his pitch against the NFSA and has said that Mufti has robbed people of the right to bare minimum ration requirement. Separatist leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani has said that government cannot ignore the public protests. Omar said that he did not allow this Act to get implemented in J&K when he was the Chief Minister. He said that the increasing protests only indicated people’s dissatisfaction with the new regime.