SRINAGAR, August 5: Former J&K chief minister and Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday claimed she and some senior leaders of her party were placed under house arrest while several others were detained on the fourth anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370. “I’ve been put under house arrest along with other senior PDP leaders today. This comes after a midnight crackdown where scores of my party men are illegally detained in police stations. GOI’s false claims about normalcy to the SC stands exposed by their actions driven by paranoia,” she tweeted.
She said on one hand, giant hoardings calling upon Kashmiris to “celebrate” the abrogation of Article 370 have been put up across Srinagar, whereas brute force is being used to choke the actual sentiment of the people. “Hope the Hon’ble SC takes cognisance of these developments at a time when Article 370 has come up for hearing,” the former chief minister said in another tweet. The Centre revoked Article 370 granting special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union territories — J-K and Ladakh — on August 5, 2019. The PDP said after denying permission to the party for organising a peaceful programme on the fourth anniversary of Article 370 abrogation, a massive crackdown was carried against the party leaders during the night. A party spokesman alleged that former ministers Abdul Rehman Veeri, Nayeem Akhter and Asia Naqash, PDP general secretary Ghulam Nahi Lone Hanjura, general secretary (organisation) Mehboob Beg, and district president Budgam Mohammad Yasin Bhat were put under house arrest.
He said party chief spokesperson Syed Suhail Bukhari, youth president Waheed ur Rehman Parra, state secretary Abdul Hameed Kohsheen, additional spokesperson Abdul Rouf Bhat, district president Srinagar Abdul Qayoom Bhat and other party leaders and workers were detained in different police stations. The spokesman also said that the roads leading to the PDP headquarters near Sher-e-Kashmir Park were sealed and no staffer was allowed to enter the office. However, a group of PDP activists managed to take out a protest in Rajbagh area of the city here. They carried placards which read “August 5 is a black day” and “K (Kashmir)- resolution is key to peace in the subcontinent”. The National Conference (NC) also said that its party headquarter Nawa-i-Subah was sealed and no one was allowed to go inside. “True to form and in keeping with the clampdown on mainstream democratic activities organised by parties opposed to 5th Aug 2019, the JKNC office has been sealed by the police. No one is being allowed in or out of the office,” it said in a social media post. “These steps betray the nervousness of the administration & render hollow their claims regarding great improvements in the last 4 years,” it added. The police, however, were tight-lipped about the alleged restrictions on NC and PDP leaders. Peoples Conference chief Sajad Lone called August 5 a “sad reminder of the disempowerment of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”. “August 5 is a sad day. A sad reminder of the disempowerment of the people of J&K,” he said in a tweet. Lone said the process of “disempowerment” and “belittling of institutions, individuals and people of J and K” continues. “For those patting their own backs and believing in their own fiction don’t mistake fear for consent,” he added.