On the second anniversary of abrogation of Article 370, the government refused to permit former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to hold a protest march in Srinagar while the BJP celebrated the day at high-security Church Lane here calling the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration as Gupkar gang.
The BJP after June 24 meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with different political leaders of J&K had stopped calling the PAGD as Gupkar Gang.
At the same time when the police on Thursday morning saw markets shut in different areas of Srinagar, it swung into action to open the shops. National Conference spokesperson Sarah Hayat Shah tweeted a video showing police breaking open locks of shops in Srinagar. She called it Gunda Raj.
Earlier the police had warned shopkeepers to desist from observing shutdown, or hartal on August 5. According to the traders, the police had told them that the government will not support any hartal. “We want everything to be normal. As it is today, it should be (like that) tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow,” traders had said quoting police. In spite of the police’s directive, the major markets in Srinagar observed a shutdown.
In a series of videos posted on social media by many scribes and politicians, policemen armed with assault rifles are seen asking shopkeepers to open the shops in Lal Chowk and breaking open locks.
The Peoples’ Alliance for Gupkar declaration held a meeting in Srinagar and expressed concern over the situation in J&K. The alliance partners said they will continue the struggle for the restoration of the “legitimate rights” of the people of J&K. The alliance meeting was held at PAGD chairman Farooq Abdullah’s residence in Srinagar. Former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, PAGD spokesperson and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami attended the meeting. Later talking to reporters Tarigami said the BJP says after revocation of Article 370 normalcy has been restored and violence has ended in J&K but on the floor of the Parliament in response to a question about statehood, the MOS Home said the statehood will be restored only at an appropriate time when normalcy is restored.”
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti later took out protest outside her office at Residency Road area shouting slogans that August 5, 2019 decisions are unacceptable to people of Kashmir. “What kind of normalcy is this? Why don’t you allow us to have a peaceful demonstration and march? Why you removed our black flags? Why shopkeepers are forced to open shops,” Mehbooba said.
She later tweeted, “No words or pictures are enough to depict the pain, torment & upheaval inflicted upon J&K on this black day two years ago. When unbridled oppression is unleashed & gross injustice heaped there is no other choice but to resist to exist.”
In a high-security Church Lane area of Srinagar, the BJP national general secretary Tarun Chugh, who is also the party in charge of J&K and Ladakh said that one of the most significant achievements in the post-Article 370 times have been that the divisive and militant forces have been dealt a big blow following which an atmosphere of development and progress has built in the region giving people new hope. Chugh and the BJP leaders were carrying the Tricolour.
Addressing the party workers Chugh said after many decades the Pakistan-sponsored militancy seems to be on the backfoot and people are heaving a sigh of relief as they are no more dancing to the tune of the ISI agents. The anti-national feelings among people have been replaced by inclusive ideas of development and progress.
Chugh said Gupkar gang parties are still trying to disrupt the positive narrative in J&K. He said the Gupkar parties are under strong apprehension that they would soon become redundant in J&K politics because people would slowly give them up and their divisive agenda.
Separatist Hurriyat Conference led by Mirwaiz Umar Farooq in a statement said, “the present Indian government's actions of August 5, 2019 has only complicated the dispute further, over the state of J&K. This is illustrated by the fact that it ignited the flames along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) even as some measure of calm has been introduced along the Line of Control,” Hurriyat statement said.