Three years of Article 370 abrogation: Leaders in Kashmir demand restoration of special status

As the abrogation of Article 370 and the creation of two Union Territories from the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir marked three years on Friday, mainstream political leaders in Kashmir said they would continue to fight for the restoration of J&K’s special status.

People’s Democratic Party (PDP) chairperson, Mehbooba Mufti protested for the restoration of Article 370 outside the party’s office in Srinagar, the third year since the Indian Parliament abrogated Article 370.

Three years ago, on August 5, Parliament revoked Article 370 and divided the state into two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, and arrested all the mainstream leaders.

Mehbooba Mufti along with dozens of her supporters and party leaders protested outside the party office on Residency Road Srinagar on Friday. The protesters raised slogans against J&K’s special status, arrests and killings, besides demanding a solution to the Kashmir issue and release of prisoners.

The protest was held amid tight security. However, the police did not allow the protest march to take place. “We have planned to protest till the city center Lal Chowk on the third year after the abrogation of Article 370. “Police did not allow us to go out of our office,” PDP spokesperson Mohit Bhan said.

Addressing the activists, Mehbooba Mufti said that August 5 is a dark day for the people of Kashmir. “Our special status, our flag and our constitution have been taken away from us in an anti-democratic manner. These rights have been given to us by the Indian Constitution,” he said.

Later in a series of tweets, the PDP president said the BJP’s designs had been unveiled.

“As BJP’s malevolent designs for J&K unravel, the pattern of repression and fear is now knocking on doors in other parts of the country too. Arming their pet agencies and using terror laws to suppress dissent is the norm,” said Mehbooba Mufti.

“Your silence and complicity has emboldened GOI to destroy it. Today they are trampling on every pillar supporting Indian democracy. BJP’s J&K integration which never happened has cost us dearly,” he said in another tweet.

Mehbooba Mufti said that J&K has fallen in the index of development indices. “J&K has slipped in the index of development indices. Unemployment and inflation are at an all-time high. The façade of normalcy is as true as ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’.

National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah said that they will continue their peaceful struggle. “We will continue our peaceful struggle using all legal and constitutional means to question what was done to J&K on August 5, 2019. The road ahead may be long, full of twists and turns but this is not one @JKNC_will give up,” Omar tweeted. . The National Conference also organized a program at its party office Navai Subh in Srinagar.

President of the National Conference, Dr. Farooq Abdullah, who presided over the meeting, said that the betrayal of trust and decisions on August 5, 2019 are not acceptable to the party. “We hope the SC will reverse the unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional decisions. He said that we will continue to fight for our rights peacefully.

CPI(M) general secretary and spokesperson of People’s Alliance of Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), an alliance of mainstream parties demanding restoration of special status, Mohammad Yusuf Tarigami said J&K was looted three years ago.

“On this day in 2019, the central government upheld the constitution and stripped Jammu and Kashmir of what it had achieved after a hard struggle by arresting thousands of people overnight. We reiterate our cast iron resolve to work together to restore what was taken from us,” Tarigami said in a tweet. Meanwhile, the day passed peacefully without any mishap as all shops and business establishments across Kashmir remained open and traffic flowed as usual.

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