Press Trust of india

Jubilations, protests, partial shutdown mark second anniversary of abrogation of Article 370

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Srinagar: Scores of shops were shut in parts of Srinagar on Thursday on the second anniversary of the revocation of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, even as the situation remained peaceful.

While shops in several areas of the city, including the Lal Chowk city centre, were closed, those in other areas such as in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and parts of Budgam, Ganderbal and Kupwara were open.

However, shopkeepers in many areas, including Lal Chowk, alleged that police were forcing them to keep their establishments open. Many of them claimed police broke open the locks of their shops.

Meanwhile, Police said that the situation throughout Kashmir valley remained peaceful and no untoward incident was reported from any place.  Besides, markets and transport also witnessed normal activities as all the types of shops remained open and public/private transport was plying normally across the valley.

“Apart from daily routine activities various National Flag hoisting ceremonies/rallies were also organized by various organizations at several places across the districts of Kashmir Valley. Moreover, various state functions were also held including meeting by Hon’ble Lt. Governor with DDC/BDC members, besides various tours were also conducted. A Women Football match was also played as per schedule at Synthetic Turf TRC between South Kashmir-11 and Srinagar Club,” a statement issued by the Police said.

Meanwhile, National Conference (NC) president and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah Thursday said the party will continue its struggle for the restoration of the “abridged” constitutional and democratic rights of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

The NC president’s remarks came as Jammu and Kashmir Thursday marked the second anniversary of the revocation of its special status.

“The party’s position on the unilateral, unconstitutional and undemocratic decisions taken on August 05, 2019 will never change and the party will keep up with its struggle for the restoration of J&K people’s abridged constitutional and democratic rights,” Abdullah told a meeting of party functionaries at NC’s headquarters here.

The NC president termed the decisions taken on August 05, 2019 — when the Centre revoked J&K’s special status — as a “lethal assault on the country’s secular visage, its pluralistic and asymmetrical federalism and violation of sovereign promises made by the country to the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh”.

“The abrogation of Articles 370, 35-A, downgrading of J&K into two UTs are few milestones for which the people of J&K would never forgive the present government,” he said.

Other party leaders also spokes on the occasion and termed the Centre’s decisions “a catastrophic event” in the recent history of Jammu and Kashmir that gave a “death knell” to the vital democratic, political, constitutional, cultural and economic interests of the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

“In the run up for abrogation on the fateful day of August 05, 2019, it was said that the rationale behind the decisions was to facilitate the integration and bring about better administration.  Two years have passed since, not a single promise has materialized on ground. The decisions have only managed to suspend democracy in the state, and put all the crucial institutions on death bed. As against facilitating the integration and bringing the region at par with other states, as was promised, the GOI has inversely been thrusting custom made top bottom decisions on the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Post unilateral abrogation of its status, the region has been put on much lower pedestal than other constituent units of the union,” the NC leaders said.

They said that the decisions have come with a steep cost to people of Jammu, Kashmir, and Ladakh in the shape of collapsed economy, growing administrative inertia, and development deficit as well.

“A choked atmosphere has been created in J&K. The idea of peace still remains elusive. BJP’s drum beating has not helped it gloss over the fall out of its imprudent decisions. Huge barriers have been placed aimed to deny political space to voices of dissent be it political or from the media fraternity. The employees and youth have been pushed to the wall by New Delhi without any hesitation. The successive executive orders post abrogation in the shape of issuance of domicile certificates,  curbs on media, intimidation of government employees, discriminatory rules on employment are some of the top down authoritarian diktats that have been pushed down the throats of the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” they said.

Meanwhile, in a press release here, the NC said its Members of Parliament — Hasnain Masoodi and Mohammad Akbar Lone — held a protest outside the Parliament House near Mahatma Gandhi s, demanding restoration of Article 370 and Article 35-A.

“Both the MPs kept standing in front of the Mahatma Gandhi statue inside the parliament holding placards which read ‘Revoke 5th August 2019 Unconstitutional Decisions’ and ‘Restore special status of Jammu and Kashmir’,” the party press release said.

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