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August 5 Marked as 'Black Day' by Political Parties in J&K

Anees Zargar |
A partial shutdown was observed in parts of the Old City area of Downtown Srinagar where many shops were closed in protest against the move.
August 5 Marked as 'Black Day' by Political Parties in J&K

Srinagar: Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir stayed their ground on Friday by reiterating their commitment to fight the decisions taken by the government in New Delhi on August 5, 2019, a day the parties said will be remembered as a "Black Day" in history.

Several workers of the People's Democratic Party (PDP), led by president Mehbooba Mufti carried out a protest in Srinagar, raising slogans like "Kale Din Ka Kala Faisal Nahi Chalega" (We reject the black decision taken on the Black day).

Mufti said that August 5 is not just a black day for Jammu and Kashmir but the entire country.

"Soon, the BJP will get rid of even the Constitution and the foundations of secularism on which this country stands. They will change the tricolour, which everyone is hoisting proudly, and replace it with a saffron flag just like they snatched away the Constitution and flag of J&K," Mufti said during the protest.

However, the former chief minister added that they would continue to fight for the rights snatched arbitrarily by the Bharatiya Janata Party-led (BJP) government.

"They will have to resolve the issue of Kashmir for which lakhs of people have sacrificed their lives here as well as in the rest of the country. They (BJP) will be forced to resolve it," Mufti said.

A partial shutdown was observed in parts of the Old City area of Downtown Srinagar where many shops were closed in protest against the move. The city's central market in Lal Chowk, which has so far observed most of the shutdowns against the government's decision, remained open.

Many argued that it was done to avoid reprisal from the authorities.

"We disagree with what happened on August 5, and the image of normalcy is an absolute lie. We are living in fear," one of the shopkeepers said, wishing anonymity.

The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference also vowed to continue its fight using all peaceful, legal and democratic means to reverse the decision taken three years back.

In a party statement, the NC leaders said that August 5 marks the "unceremonious breaching of sacred commitments made to people of J&K in order to uphold the political agenda of BJP and the RSS."

Articles 370 and 35-A, the leaders said, were the manifestation of the solemn commitments made by New Delhi to the people of J&K.

"The undue decisions have added to the long prevailing political instability and alienation in the region. The decisions violated the spirit of the country's federalism," the party statement read.

The leaders of the NC also requested the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court to constitute the bench to begin hearings on the matter.

"Hon'ble Chief Justice had committed to doing this as soon as the summer break ended. That happened a few weeks ago, and we hope the honourable CJ will convene the bench and start hearings in the matter," the statement said.

The political leadership of Jammu and Kashmir, including the separatists as well as pro-India politicians, who participated in the electoral process, were arrested by the BJP-led government ahead of August 5, 2019, the day region's status of reserving its rights over jobs and land was revoked with the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A.

J&K, a state hitherto, was downsized and bifurcated into two union territories. The decision, taken arbitrarily without a consensus in the restive region, the local leadership said violated all laws and rules of engagement.

Senior CPI (M) leader and former MLA Kulgam Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami told NewsClick that August 5 had been a day of "tragedy" for the people of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh.

"It is an assault on all rights, including expression and association, and the attack has continued since then. There were some sections earlier that rejoiced at the decision, but today they have also been demoralised by the conduct of the government of India. Not just Kashmir, the people of Ladakh, Kargil and Jammu all realised it," Tarigami said.

"It is a reminder of the humiliation that people of J&K were subjected to three years ago," a party spokesperson from the Jammu and Kashmir People's Conference (JKPC) said.

The JKPC, however, also trained its guns on the NC and PDP, accusing them of failing "miserably" in keeping their commitments like the BJP.

"While the former has endorsed further decline by their deceptive conduct in the political identity of J&K, the latter is continuing to disempower masses of the erstwhile state of J&K," the spokesperson added.

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