3rd anniversary of Art 370 abrogation: PDP, Congress stage protests, seek rollback of move
Srinagar: Holding protests on the third anniversary of the repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the Peoples Democratic Party and the Congress today reiterated their resolve to fight for its restoration even as the National Conference held a meeting and pinned all its hopes on the Supreme Court reversing the decisions taken by the Centre on this day three years ago.
Life was normal across Kashmir on Friday with markets, schools and other establishments remaining open, though shops remained shut in certain areas of Srinagar downtown.
“Paying no heed to Bandh Call, all shops are open and it is absolutely normal in Srinagar District. These visuals are from Lal Chowk area,” Srinagar Police tweeted alongside a 13-second video of Lal Chowk showing scenes of normalcy.
Mehbooba Mufti and her party workers assembled at the party office near the Sher-e-Kashmir Municipal Park here to protest against the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into Union territories and abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 of the Constitution which accorded special status to the erstwhile state.
They tried to march towards Lal Chowk but were prevented by the police personnel deployed on law and order duty.
Carrying placards and banners demanding the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status, the protesters were allowed to briefly camp outside the PDP office. They later dispersed peacefully.
Talking to reporters, Mehbooba Mufti said her party was determined not only to fight for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir but also work for a lasting solution to the issue of Kashmir.
“In the coming time, they will destroy the Constitution and foundations on which this country stands. They will make this a theological state and replace the tricolour with saffron flag. They will change the national flag as they did with our Constitution and flag. But we are determined to fight for restoration of what has been snatched from us,” she said.
The PDP president later took to Twitter saying that the BJP’s designs for Jammu and Kashmir have unravelled.
“As BJP’s malicious designs for J&K have unravelled, the pattern of suppression and fear is now knocking at the door in the rest of the country too. Weaponising their pet agencies and using terror laws to stifle dissent has become the norm,” she said.
“Your silence and complicity emboldened GOI to wreak havoc. Today they are trampling upon Indian democracy by subverting every pillar that supported it. BJP’s so-called integration of J&K which never happened has cost us heavily,” the former chief minister said, apparently referring to political parties from the rest of the country.
She claimed that Jammu and Kashmir has slipped on development indices.
“Unemployment and inflation is at an all time high. The facade of normalcy is as real as ‘sabka saath sabka vikaas’,” she added, in a swipe at the BJP’s slogan.
A group of Congress workers led by former minister Tariq Karra and Taj Mohiuddin also staged a protest against the abrogation of Article 370 and demanded its restoration.
The Congress workers, who had assembled inside the party office on Maulana Azad Road here, were not allowed to come out on the roads by police personnel posted at the gates.
Meanwhile, National Conference president Farooq Abdullah presided over a party meeting at Nawai-Subh.
“August 5, 2019 marks breach of trust, decisions NOT acceptable to us. We hope that SC will reverse the unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional decisions. Will continue to fight for our rights peacefully,” Abdullah was quoted by a party spokesman in a tweet.
Party vice-president Omar Abdullah also vowed to use all legal, constitutional and peaceful means for the restoration of Article 370.
“We will continue our peaceful struggle using all legal & constitutional means to challenge what was done to J&K on 5th Aug 2019. The road ahead may be a long one, full of twists & turns but it’s not one @JKNC_ will abandon,” he tweeted.
His party’s official Twitter handle put out posters saying “we reject disenfranchisement and disempowerment of people of Jammu and Kashmir” and urged the Supreme Court to constitute a bench to begin hearing in the matter.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami tweeted, “On this day in 2019, the Central government upended the constitution and robbed Jammu & Kashmir of what it had achieved after a hard-fought battle by locking away thousands overnight. We reiterate our cast iron resolve to unitedly work for restoration of what was snatched from us.”
BJP in-charge of Jammu and Kashmir Tarun Chugh, however, claimed that the erstwhile state “has become terrorism-free after the abrogation of the special status”.
Police dismisses claim about house arrest of NC president Farooq Abdullah
Srinagar, Aug 05: Police on Friday dismissed a claim made by the National Conference that its president Farooq Abdullah was placed under house arrest hours after chairing a meeting at the party headquarters here.
“There is fake news going around that some NC and PDP leaders have been placed under house arrest in Gupkar Road. This news is completely baseless,” a police spokesman said.
He was reacting to claims of the National Conference, including its vice-president Omar Abdullah, that Farooq Abdullah, the Lok Sabha member from Srinagar, had been placed under house arrest.
“It seems they have to place this truck outside the gate out of some compulsion because it’s a senseless act (aside from being totally illegal). He went to the office, went for Namaz, went for a condolence visit. The truck arrived after he had nowhere else to go today. Fools!!” Omar Abdullah tweeted.
The NC spokesman had tweeted about the house arrest of the former chief minister.
“Dr Farooq Abdullah has been placed under house arrest after returning from Nawai-Subha where he had earlier presided over a meeting and said ‘we will peacefully fight for our RIGHTS that were illegally, unconstitutionally and undemocratically snatched from us on August 5, 2019’,” he said.
However, the police spokesman said additional security personnel were deployed at certain places on Gupkar Road in view of “certain inputs of a terror attack”.
“Ms Mehbooba Mufti visited her party headquarters around noon time and Dr Farooq Abdullah visited Hazratbal shrine and his friend in Shalimar in the afternoon. Media friends are advised to verify news from authorities before circulating (them). JKP is a fully professional police force and is well aware of its duties,” he said.
The police spokesman also posted the latest photographs from outside the residences of Abdullah and Mufti which showed no presence of security vehicles.