Meeting called by Farooq disallowed
Srinagar, Aug 5: Authorities today tightened curfew-like restrictions in Kashmir to prevent any protests on the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370 that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir while a meeting called by National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah at his residence was disallowed.
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Several political leaders and activists were detained to thwart any protest while a meeting called by Dr Abdullah at his residence was also disallowed. However, several PDP activists staged protest demonstration in Srinagar and avowed to continue fight for restoration of special status of J&K.
Police and CRPF personnel were deployed in strength across the Valley, particularly in Srinagar, to ensure no protest takes place. Barric-ades and other impediments were erected across Srinagar and other parts of Valley and movement was restricted.
Gupkar road where Abdullah had called a meeting with other political parties to deliberate upon the situation post Article 370 revocation was sealed. The headquarters of mainstream political parties were sealed and leaders were asked not to come out of their houses.
An official said that police was directed that no political leader should be allowed to come out of their residences. “Their guards were asked not to move out nor allow these politicians to leave their residences. Political party workers, former militants, former Over Ground Workers of militants were called to Police Stations and asked not to come out of their homes and some of them have been kept under preventive detention”, he said.
NC vice-president Omar Abdullah took to his twitter handle to vent his anger. “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”, he tweeted.
In another tweet, Omar wrote: “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”.
Pradesh Congress Committee president Ghulam Ahmad Mir told Excelsior that leaders of the party were not allowed to move out. “There is total curtailment on our movement. We were verbally conveyed by the security department of police that there will be no movement on 4th and 5th August. Our security has been withdrawn for two days so that we can’t move out of homes. Outside there are barricades and all roads are blocked. The local police officers have told our other leaders not to move out and their security has also been withdrawn for two days and barricades erected so that they can’t move out. Even our workers were told not to move out.”
CPI (M) senior leader and former MLA Kulgam, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami asked is this the normalcy which Government is talking about? “How can you claim normalcy when the leaders are not even being allowed to hold a meeting,” he said.
“I was scheduled to attend the meeting today, but was asked not to venture out of my home today”, he added.
Authorities had on Monday announced strict curfew in Srinagar district in view of inputs about violent protests endangering lives of people as separatists and Pakistan sponsored groups were planning to observe August 5 as Black Day. However, curfew was later curtailed for a day and COVID-19 lockdown was extended as usual.
Despite restrictions, few PDP leaders and activists succeeded in reaching Lal Chowk where they staged a protest against the decisions taken on August 5 last year.
PDP leader Arif Laigaroo said PDP workers tried to express their dissent peacefully but were not allowed. Holding placards scripted with “Black Day”, PDP leaders and workers were chanting slogans against the decisions taken by Modi led BJP Government last year that scrapped special status of J&K.
Meanwhile, several BJP leaders and activists celebrated the day at central and district headquarters and hoisted tricolor on the occasion. They thanked PM Narendra Modi for taking serious efforts in scrapping Article 370 and 35(A) and asserted that the move has brought peace, prosperity and development in J&K.
BJP spokesman Altaf Thakur said that functions were organized at all district headquarters and constituencies where party workers hoisted national flag.