Srinagar: Peoples Democratic Party and the Congress staged protests on Friday to mark the third anniversary of the repeal of Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and reiterated their resolve to fight for its restoration.
The National Conference held a meeting on the occasion 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. “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 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 said her party was determined not only to fight for the restoration of the special status of Jammu and Kashmir but also work for 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 the BJP’s designs for Jammu and Kashmir have unravelled.
“As BJP’s malicious designs for J&K have unravelled, the pattern of suppression & fear is now knocking at the door in rest of the country too. Weaponising their pet agencies & using terror laws to stifle dissent has become the norm,” she said.
“Your silence & complicity emboldened GOI to wreck 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 & 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 hard 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.