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August 5 anniversary: Strict restrictions in Valley, meeting called by Farooq stopped

While the road leading to Abdullah’s residence was blocked by police with concertina wire and armoured vehicles, leaders of mainstream parties invited by Abdullah were not allowed to move out of their houses.

Written by Bashaarat Masood , Naveed Iqbal | Srinagar | August 6, 2020 1:25:22 am
jammu and kashmir status,  j&k special status 1 year, farooq abdullah, Jammu and kashmir, kashmir special status anniversary, revocation of special status, jammu and kashmir special status, kashmir curfew Tight security in Srinagar Wednesday. (Express photo by Shuaib Masoodi)

The J&K administration on Wednesday prevented a meeting of mainstream political leaders convened by former Chief Minister and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah at his Gupkar Road residence. On August 4 last year, all mainstream political leaders in the Valley met at the same place, resulting in the Gupkar Declaration.

While the road leading to Abdullah’s residence was blocked by police with concertina wire and armoured vehicles, leaders of mainstream parties invited by Abdullah were not allowed to move out of their houses.

Even as the government on Tuesday evening announced that curfew had been lifted in Srinagar, civilian movement was strictly restricted in the city and other parts of the Valley; roads were barricaded and policemen said they had strict orders to impose curfew.

“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,” former CM and NC vice-president Omar Abdullah tweeted. “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.”

As local BJP leaders hoisted the Tricolour in parts of the Valley to celebrate one year of abrogation of J&K’s special status, Omar termed it BJP’s “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,” Omar said in another tweet.

The BJP marked the day by hoisting the national flag at the party headquarters at Srinagar and other locations in the districts. In Srinagar, BJP spokesperson Altaf Thakur said, “Today the dream of BJP founder Syama Prasad Mookerjee stands fulfiled as there is only Ek Pradhan, Ek Nishan and Ek Samvidhaan.”

On Tuesday Abdullah had invited political leaders to his residence to “deliberate on the current situation”. He had invited leaders of the PDP, Congress, Peoples Conference and other smaller parties.

The leaders, however, weren’t allowed to leave their residences. “Our party president (Ghulam Ahmad Mir) was supposed to attend the meeting,” Congress vice-president Ghulam Nabi Monga said. “But he was not allowed to move out.”

Rajya Sabha member Mir Mohammad Fayaz, who was supposed to represent the PDP in the meeting, said he was not allowed by the police to move out. “Even in the evening, I wanted to visit my sister, but was stopped. They are not allowing me to move out,” he said.

As the PDP observed a ‘black day’, party spokesperson Suhail Bukhari said their leaders and functionaries were detained ahead of planned protests.

PDP general secretary Surinder Choudhary along with other workers protested in Jammu while PDP youth wing provincial secretary Arif Laigroo and other party activists protested in Srinagar.

CPM leader M Y Tarigami said he was told that he cannot attend the meeting. “As I was preparing to leave, my security personnel informed that I am not allowed to move out,” he told The Indian Express. “But we will not give up.”

“Locks on gates, lock downs as celebrations and lies as defences has been the hallmark of last year…,” Tarigami tweeted.

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