Protests rocked Jammu and Kashmir on the second anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370, even as shopkeepers alleged that police broke locks of their shops to ensure that shutdown is not observed on Thursday.
Leaving the fear factor behind, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti led a token protest demonstration in Srinagar.
Wearing black armbands, the protestors staged a protest outside the party office. “Paanch August ka faisla nahi chalega, nahi chelga… Masle Kashmir hal kora..hal kora…,” rent the air as Mehbooba led a small group of protestors.
“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,” tweeted Mehbooba.
PDP workers also observed protests across Jammu and Kashmir. On August 5, 2019, the central government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and downgraded the state into two union territories. Ladakh became a union territory without a legislative assembly, while Jammu and Kashmir became a UT with the legislature.
A symbolic protest was held at Rajouri to observe August 5 as “Black Day. “Inshallah, we will keep on rising and speaking against those who want to enslave and oppress us,” said Dr. Inzmam Khan.
Protests notwithstanding, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called August 5 a historic day. “Two years ago, on this day, the first big step towards a #NewJammuKashmir was taken. Since then, there has been unprecedented peace & progress in the region. Head to Your Voice section of Volunteer module on NaMo App for informative content, graphics & more,” he tweeted.
BJP activists celebrated the anniversary by dancing to famous Kashmir numbers. Workers gathered in Srinagar danced and exchanged sweets to celebrate the abrogation of special status.
What, however, sparked the row were the videos showing cops breaking locks of the shops in Lal Chowk. Shopkeepers alleged that the cops were forcing them to keep their shops open. Some shopkeepers alleged that locks of their business establishments were broken. Though there was no call for hartal, people in many areas kept their shops shut.
On completing two years of abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A, Hurriyat Conference said the Indian Government’s actions of August 5, 2019, have only complicated the dispute further.
“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. Moreover, it is worth pointing out that whereas before August 2019, New Delhi would argue that Kashmir was the main trouble spot in the state, today it is faced with four trouble spots of Leh, Kargil, and Jammu as there is disaffection in these regions too,” Hurriyat said in a statement.
Hurriyat urged the Government of India to address the Kashmir dispute, engage with those who genuinely represent its people’s political will and aspirations, and diffuse geopolitical pressures in the region along its northern and western borders.
“Hurriyat has had a long-standing policy of engagement in meaningful dialogue among all the stakeholders that see the situation on the ground for what it is and encourages dialogue rather than armed confrontation. Therefore, all political prisoners including Mirwaiz Umar Farooq arrested arbitrarily should be released,” said Hurriyat.