Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chief Mehbooba Mufti participates in a protest demanding restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir on the third anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and 35A in Srinagar on Friday, August 5, 2022. (PTI photo)
Srinagar: The People’s Democratic Party and Congress on Friday staged protests to mark the third anniversary of the abrogation 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 hopes on the Supreme Court reversing the decision taken by the Center on this day three years ago.
Life was normal across Kashmir on Friday as markets, schools and other establishments remained open. “Irrespective of the bandh call, all the shops are open and this is very common in Srinagar district. These visuals are from Lal Chowk area,” Srinagar Police tweeted along with a 13-second video from Lal Chowk showing scenes of normalcy.
Mehbooba and his activists gathered at the party office near Sher-e-Kashmir Municipal Park here to protest against the bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into a union territory and the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which earlier granted special status. State
They tried to divert the march towards Lal Chowk but were stopped by the police personnel deployed for law and order.
Protesters were allowed to camp outside the PDP office for some time, carrying placards and banners demanding the restoration of special status to Jammu and Kashmir. Later they dispersed peacefully.
Speaking to reporters, Mehbooba said that her party is not only striving to restore special status to Jammu and Kashmir, but also to find a permanent solution to the Kashmir issue.
“In time to come, they will destroy the Constitution and the foundation on which this country stands. They will make it a theological state and replace the tricolor with a saffron flag. They will change the flag like they did our constitution and flag. But we are determined to fight to get back what has been taken from us,” she said.
The PDP president later said on Twitter that the BJP’s plans for Jammu and Kashmir had been exposed.
“As the BJP’s malicious plans for J&K unfold, the pattern of repression and fear is now knocking on the door in other parts of the country. Weaponizing their pet agencies and using terror laws to quell dissent has become the norm,” she said.
“Your silence and cooperation encouraged GOI to perish. Today they are trampling every pillar that supports Indian democracy. BJP’s so-called integration of Jammu and Kashmir which never happened has cost us dearly,” the former chief minister said, apparently referring to other political parties in the country.
She claimed that Jammu and Kashmir has fallen on the development indices.
“Unemployment and inflation are at an all-time high. The façade of normalcy is as true as ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’,” she said on the BJP’s slogan.
A group of Congress activists led by former ministers Tariq Karara and Taj Mohiuddin protested against the abrogation of Article 370 and demanded its reinstatement.
Police personnel stationed at the gate did not allow the Congress workers who had gathered at the party office on Maulana Azad Road here to enter the street.
Meanwhile, a party meeting was held at Nawai-Subh under the chairmanship of National Conference President Farooq Abdullah.
“August 5, 2019 is a breach of trust, the decisions are not acceptable to us. We hope SC will reverse the unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional decision. Will continue to fight peacefully for our rights,” Abdullah was quoted as saying by the party’s spokesperson in a tweet.
Party Vice President Omar Abdullah also vowed to use all legal, constitutional and peaceful means to reinstate Article 370.
“We will continue our peaceful struggle using all legal and constitutional means to challenge what was done in Jammu and Kashmir on 5 August 2019. The road ahead will be long, full of twists and turns but @JKNC_ will not give up,” he tweeted.
His party’s official Twitter handle put up a poster saying “We reject disenfranchisement and disenfranchisement of the people of Jammu and Kashmir” and requested the Supreme Court to constitute a bench to begin hearing the matter.
CPI(M) leader MY Tarigami tweeted, “On this day in 2019, the central government broke the constitution and robbed Jammu and Kashmir of what it had gained after a hard struggle by shutting down thousands of people overnight. We reiterate our cast iron resolve to work together to reclaim what was taken from us.”
Jammu and Kashmir’s BJP in-charge Tarun Chugh, however, claimed that the erstwhile state has become terror-free after revoking the special status.