Protests, celebrations in J&K on 2nd anniversary of revocation of Art 370
An alliance of Kashmiri parties vowed to continue fighting for the restoration of Jammu and Kashmir’s “legitimate rights” on Thursday as sporadic protests marked the second anniversary of the scrapping of the region’s special status and statehood and Bharatiya Janata Party celebrated the day by holding rallies.
The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) -- which is pushing for the restoration of the region’s special status -- held a meeting at the residence of National Conference (NC) chief Farooq Abdullah. Members of the alliance are NC, Peoples Democratic Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), J&K Awami National Conference, and the J&K People’s Movement.
“The alliance reiterated our resolve to continue our struggle for restoration of our legitimate rights,” CPI(M) leader and spokesman of the PAGD, MY Tarigami, told reporters after the meeting.
On August 5, 2019, the central government effectively revoked Article 370 which gave special status to the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, and bifurcated the region into two territories- Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
Despite tall claims of the [central] government, the situation since August 5, 2019 is worsening day by day,” Tarigami said. A senior leader of the alliance, who was part of the meeting, said that alliance leadership unanimously agreed that even after a landmark all-party meeting by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on June 24, no confidence building measure was initiated by the Centre.
BJP MARKS DAY
Terming it a historic day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday said that since the revocation of Article 370, there has been “unprecedented peace and progress” in J&K.
“It is only on 5th August, when 2 years ago, the country further strengthened the spirit of Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat. On August 5, by removing Article 370, every citizen of Jammu and Kashmir was made full participant of every right, every facility,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.
The BJP celebrated the day by holding Tiranga rallies and hoisting the national flag across J&K.
J&K BJP chief Ravinder Raina said that the move brought peace in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Article 370 was a wall of hatred that had held the people of Jammu in Kashmir in the chains of slavery. Because of article 370 terrorism was born in Jammu and Kashmir and it killed many innocent people...And the central government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has indicated many development projects here,” Raina was quoted as saying to news agency ANI.
In Jammu, led by J&K Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha (BJYM) president, Arun Dev Singh, hundreds of BJP workers marched carrying the Tricolour and shouting slogans of “Vande Mataram” and “Bharat Mata Ki Jai”.
PROTESTS IN KASHMIR
After the PAGD meeting, Peoples Democratic Party chief Mufti, accompanied by several party leaders and workers, took to the streets and shouted slogans to condemn the August 5, 2019 decision.
Shops and business establishments remained shut in most parts of Srinagar even as a section of traders alleged that police were forcing them to keep their units open. Only shops dealing with essentials such as medicines and vegetables chose to continue with their businesses during the day.
While shops in several areas of the city, including the Lal Chowk city centre, were closed, those in other areas such as in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district and parts of Budgam, Ganderbal and Kupwara were open. Vehicular movement also remained partially affected.
“I saw policemen calling on shopkeepers and even picking the locks of closed business establishments,” a resident of Lal Chowk said on condition of anonymity.
Markets in Residency Road, Hari Singh High Street and Goni-Khan in and around Lal Chowk mostly remained shut for the day.
“Despite police coercion, I have not opened my shop. Article 370 was a safety net for Jammu and Kashmir. It’s revocation means we are vulnerable now,” a trader at Srinagar’s Jehangir Chowk said, wishing not to be named.
“The situation throughout Kashmir valley remained peaceful and no any untoward incident was reported from any place. Besides, markets and transport also witnessed normal activities as all the types of shops remained open and public/private transport was plying normally across the valley,” said J&K police in a statement, released late on Thursday night.
(With inputs from agencies)