Meeting of parties called by Farooq Abdullah not held due to restrictions imposed by authorities: NC

A meeting of some political parties called by Jammu and Kashmir’s veteran leader Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday to discuss the situation arising out of the abrogation of Article 370 provisions a year ago could not be held due to strict restrictions imposed by authorities, his National Conference said.

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.

National Conference MP from Anantnag in south Kashmir Hasnain Masoodi and PDP’s Rajya Sabha member Fayaz Mir were turned away from Gupkar Road citing restrictions imposed by the authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the district, NC leaders said.

CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, NC MP from Baramulla in north Kashmir Akbar Lone and Abdullah’s nephew Muzzafar Shah, who heads the Awami National Conference, were stopped at their residences and not allowed to go out, they said.

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.

Omar Abdullah, who is the vice president of the NC, said the Gupkar Road — leading to his residence and that of his father — was sealed by the authorities.

“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 said on Twitter, along with two pictures of the deserted road.

The former chief minister said, “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 NC leader said the authorities were “still too afraid” to allow them to meet or carry out any normal political activity.

“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,” he said in another tweet.

The senior Abdullah had called a similar meeting a day before the Centre’s move last year where the leaders of the valley-based political parties came up with a ‘Gupkar Declaration’ in which they resolved to fight against any attempts to abrogate the constitutional provisions that guaranteed the special status to Jammu and Kashmir or any move to trifurcate the state using democratic means.

Meanwhile, 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 wont suppress emotions forever,” Iltija posted on her mother’s Twitter handle which she has been using since Mehbooba was taken into custody in August last year.