New Delhi | August 5
Two years after the abrogation of Article 370 of the Constitution, which revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, the situation in the Valley remains peaceful on August 5, according to officials.
While most shops in parts of Srinagar are shut, including the Lal Chowk city centre, shopkeepers in many areas have alleged that the police were forcing them to keep their establishments open. Many of them claimed that the police broke open the locks of their shops, news agency PTI reported.
The public transport, too, remained off the roads in several districts, according to officials. However, shops in other parts of Kashmir such as the Anantnag district and parts of Budgam, Ganderbal and Kupwara were open.
In a virtual interaction on Thursday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that August 5 will be “remembered in history” as two years ago on this day, Article 370 was abrogated, while the “first step was taken towards the construction of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya” in 2020.
The official Twitter account of PM Modi’s personal website, also stated that there has been “unprecedented peace & progress in the region,” since the abrogation.
PDP president and former J&K chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, who was placed under house arrest in 2019 shortly before the announcement of the bifurcation of the state into Union territories, termed the move “gross injustice”.
“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,” Mufti said in a tweet on Thursday.
Echoing her sentiments, Khursheed Alam of the Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference said, “August 5 will always be a negative milestone in the history of J&K. It was a political and psychological setback for the people of J&K.”
National Conference President Farooq Abdullah, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti and other members of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration in Srinagar. (File photo)
The Gupkar alliance, which has pushed for the restoration of the special status conferred upon the state, held talks over the second anniversary at the residence of chairman and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah’s residence in Srinagar. It was attended by Mufti, M Y Tarigami, spokesperson and CPI(M) leader, and Muzaffar Shah, senior vice-president of the Awami National Conference.
On Wednesday, the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), in a statement, said that J&K remains “as far from Delhi and dil [heart] of India as it has ever been.” Raising concerns over jobs and land rights of the people of J&K, the PAGD termed the slogan of ‘Naya Kashmir’ a joke.
Tarigami said the recent all-party meet chaired by PM Modi had triggered hopes in J&K but nothing concrete was done to restore the confidence of the people.
NC leader Omar Abdullah, another leader who was put under house arrest, on Wednesday recalled that he was “deeply jaded and disappointed” over the central government’s announcement two years back.
“There is so much talk of development, development. We would welcome that if it really happened. The administration needs to go beyond inaugurating projects for which work had begun during the time of elected governments,” the NC leader said, adding that the full statehood should be restored for J&K, followed by Assembly elections.
Whereas, the Apni Party chief had on Tuesday vowed to launch a peaceful struggle for the restoration of Article 370 of the Constitution if the apex court did not restore it.
The Hurriyat Conference on Thursday stated that the actions of the government on August 5, 2019, “complicated the dispute further over the state of J&K,” as it “ignited the flames along the Line of Actual Control (LAC).” It expressed resentment over the “unilateral and arbitrary actions” related to Articles 370 and 35-A, and urged the government to hold meaningful talks with all stakeholders.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Jammu and Kashmir stated on Wednesday that the Centre was working to ensure honourable resettlement of Kashmiri Pandits in the Valley.
“Modi government is committed to ensure return of Kashmiri Pandits to their roots and understands that they may be out of Kashmir because of compulsions but they yearn to go back to the valley. The government is working on ways for the honourable resettlement of the community in the valley as per their wishes,” BJP spokesperson Girdhari Lal Raina was quoted as saying.
Earlier, during an online interaction, Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi had suggested that Kashmiri Pandits were to blame for their failure to return to the Valley. However, Raina clarified, “individual opinions expressed here and there do not reflect change in the official position of the party”.
Meanwhile, isolated incidents of violence were also reported from parts of J&K on Thursday. Militants attacked a police party in the Sopore area of the Baramulla district and an explosion, suspected to be an Improvised Explosive Device (IED), took place near the Jamia Masjid in Nowhatta area of Srinagar. No loss of life or injury were reported in either of the incidents, which are under investigation.