Srinagar: On a day when BJP activists and party leaders were seen busy in celebrations over the abrogation of special status of Jammu and Kashmir on its first anniversary, authorities here complexly sealed Gupkar Road that houses the offices and residences of top political leaders.
Gupkar was made out of bounds for people and nobody was allowed either to move towards Gupkar or leave it.
The meeting called by National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah could not be held due to severe restrictions. Leaders from other political parties barring BJP were supposed to be part of that meeting, but authorities didn’t allow that meeting to happen.
National Conference said that Dr Farooq Abdullah had invited leaders of several political parties to his residence on Gupkar Road to chalk out a joint political strategy for restoration of the special status through democratic means, but nobody was allowed to proceed towards the house of Abdullah.
Sources said that PDP’s Rajya Sabha Member Fayaz Mir and NC Parliament Member, Hasnain Masoodi tried to move towards the residence of Farooq Abdullah but were turned away by the Forces personnel and cops deployed on the extreme end of Gupkar Road.
PDP leader Fayaz Ahmed Mir told news agency KNT that he tried twice but was turned away. “No reason was given to me. A police officer informed me that they have sealed Gupkar and nobody is allowed to cross the barricades,” Mir said.
ANC Senior Vice President Muzzafar Shah said that he was stopped outside his house. “Government says there is no curfew, but facts on ground tell another Story,” Shah said.
CPI(M) leader Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami, NC MP from Baramulla in North Kashmir, Muhammad Akbar Lone were also stopped.
Former chief minister and Abdullah’s son Omar Abdullah took to Twitter to say that the authorities in Kashmir did not allow the meeting to take place.
“One year on, this is Gupkar road today – police vehicles opposite our gates, concertina wire strung across the road at regular intervals and no vehicles allowed. My father had called a meeting of leaders of MAINSTREAM parties to deliberate on the current situation,” Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter, along with two photographs of the deserted road.
Omar went on saying that: “Clearly the meeting is not being allowed to go ahead. The BJP gets to announce a 15 day celebration to mark 5th Aug and a handful of us aren’t allowed to meet in my father’s lawn. So much for BJP national leaders wondering why there is no political activity. The authorities were “still too afraid” to allow them to meet or carry out any normal political activity.”
In another tweet, Omar wrote: “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.”
CPI(M) leader and former law maker, Muhammad Yousuf Tarigami wrote: “Locks on gates, lock downs as celebrations and lies as defences has been the hallmark of last year. Today, political leaders were supposed to meet at Dr Farooq Abdullah’s residence to discuss the political challenges region is facing. But unfortunately, we were not allowed.”
In response to Tarigami’s tweet, Omar Abdullah wrote: “Not to worry Tarigami Sb some senior journalists have been parachuted in to Srinagar to tell the nation how normal everything is. I suppose in a sense they are correct because this IS the new normal for “new Kashmir”.
PDP president Mehbooba Mufti’s daughter Iltija Mufti said “prolonged enforced silence” would not “suppress” the emotions of the people of Kashmir forever.
“A year ago we witnessed how a majoritarian govt mutilated and robbed JK in broad daylight. Seasons may have changed but the betrayal will never be forgiven or forgotten. Prolonged enforced silence won’t suppress emotions forever,” Iltija tweeted.
A couple of PDP leaders including Arif Laiguru secretly talked to media in civil lines area justifying the marking of Black Day by people. They said BJP activists are patronized and encouraged while they are harassed, intimidated and jailed. KNT
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