Strict curbs foil regional parties’ meet at Farooq’s residence

KT NEWS SERVICE. Dated: 8/6/2020 11:46:34 AM

SRINAGAR, Aug 5: A meeting called by former J&K Chief Minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at his residence on Wednesday could not be held due to strict restrictions put in place by the Union Territory’s administration, his son and former CM Omar Abdullah said on Twitter.
A tight security was maintained across the Kashmir valley to foil the scheduled meeting and protest marches by the National Conference (NC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), on the first anniversary of the revocation of J&K’s special status.
NC president and Member of Parliament Farooq Abdullah was planning to chair a meeting of all regional parties “to chalk out the future course of action” at his residence on Gupkar Road. The move apparently was to carry forward the Gupkar Declaration signed on August 4, 2019 by the regional parties, which called for “a joint front to defend J&K’s special status”.
However, security had been beefed up on the Gupkar road, housing Dr. Abdullah’s residence, and barricades had been set up.
The meeting of mainstream political leaders was planned to discuss the situation arising out of the abrogation of Article 370 provisions in 2019 and to chalk out a joint political strategy for the restoration of the special status through democratic means.
Omar Abdullah, who is the vice president of the NC, questioned how the BJP gets to celebrate the first anniversary of the abrogation while Kashmir leaders can’t meet in his father’s lawn.
“One year later the authorities are still too afraid to allow us to meet much less carry out any normal political activity. This fear speaks volumes about the true situation on the ground in Kashmir.”
“Clearly the meeting is not being allowed to go ahead. The BJP gets to announce a 15-day celebration to mark 5th Aug & a handful of us aren’t allowed to meet in my father’s lawn. So much for BJP national leaders wondering why there is no political activity,” Omar said in another tweet.
Sharing some pictures of the Gupkar road, which leads to his residence and that of his father, Omar tweeted: “One year on, this is Gupkar road today – police vehicles opposite our gates, concertina wire strung across the road at regular intervals & no vehicles allowed. My father had called a meeting of leaders of mainstream parties to deliberate on the current situation.”
The NC leader also accused the BJP of hypocrisy. “BJP displaying its hypocrisy. They can gather & celebrate. The rest of us can’t even meet to discuss what’s happening in J&K.”
Even when the administration lifted the curfew that was imposed on Monday, restrictions on “movement of more than three persons” remain in place till the end of the day. Additionally, there is “complete lockdown” in containment zones due to the novel coronavirus.
Hasnain Masoodi, NC MP from Anantnag and Fayaz Mir, who is the PDP’s Rajya Sabha member, were turned away from Gupkar Road, citing restrictions imposed by the authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the district. Also, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, NC MP from Baramulla in north Kashmir Akbar Lone and Abdullah’s nephew Muzzafar Shah, who heads the Awami National Conference, were not allowed to step out of their respective houses.
Speaking to The Indian Express on Tuesday, Abdullah confirmed that he had “planned a meeting tomorrow”. “But you see, they have already stationed (security) vehicles outside our houses, they have closed it (entry). Is this the government,” he said.
On August 4 last year, the mainstream leaders had assembled at Abdullah’s residence and vowed to “stand united in their struggle for safeguarding identity, autonomy and special status of the state”.
Dozens of PDP leaders, including former legislator Firdous Tak from Kishtwar, were taken into preventive custody. The PDP had asked its members to observe the day as ‘black day’ and organise protests.
“A year ago we witnessed how a majoritarian government mutilated and robbed J&K in broad daylight. Seasons may have changed but the betrayal will never be forgiven or forgotten. Prolonged enforced silence won’t suppress emotions forever,” tweeted Iltija Mufti, daughter of incarcerated PDP president Mehbooba Mufti.
Meanwhile, PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti said that “prolonged enforced silence” would not “suppress” the emotions of the people of Kashmir forever. “A year ago we witnessed how a majoritarian government mutilated & robbed J&K in broad daylight. Seasons may have changed but the betrayal will never be forgiven or forgotten. Prolonged enforced silence won’t suppress emotions forever,” Iltija posted via her mother’s Twitter handle, which she has been using since Mehbooba was taken into custody in August last year.



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