For the first time in two decades,a senior Congress leader addressed a convention of artisans in downtown Srinagar,the stronghold of separatists. On the occasion of International Workers Day,state Congress chief Saif-ud-din Soz spoke to the artisan community at Eidgah,a place which most mainstream political leaders avoid.
The localities of downtown Srinagar is usually used by separatists,especially Hurriyat Conference chairman Mirwaiz Umar Farooq,to address rallies. The convention was organised by artisan community of Srinagar and was attended by hundreds of them besides Congress workers. The community had invited Soz as the chief guest of the function. This is a historic occasion as never has such a meeting been held in this area of Srinagar, Soz said.
Though Soz kept his speech to the development of the artisans,he also told them to give mainstream parties,especially the Congress,a chance to serve them. He highlighted the schemes initiated by the Centre for artisans especially those living in the old city and associated with paper machine,shawl weaving,Khatamband and wood-carving.
Soz asked them to continue their genuine struggle and assured support. The people of the downtown Srinagar have realized that the Congress could resolve their problems. For us it is an encouragement that large number of people in the old city participated in the rally, Soz said.