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SC Verdict on Art.370: ‘Disappointed…but Will Continue Fight’, Say J&K Political Parties

Anees Zargar |
Political leaders post videos alleging they were being restricted to their residences, barred from meeting the media among others.
suprim court

Srinagar: The Supreme Court of India’s verdict on Monday to uphold the Constitutional order that abrogated Article 370 as valid has “disappointed” regional political parties in Jammu and Kashmir, who called for “renewed efforts to continue their fight” against the move taken on August 5, 2019.

The political leadership, however, alleged they were restricted to their residences in Srinagar and barred from moving out even as the Lt Governor-led administration refuted their claims of detention.

Former Chief Minister and National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, in a video statement that he released later during the day in the wake of alleged restrictions, he respected the apex court’s judgement but would continue to advocate for the restoration of the J&K’s special status politically. 

“We could not have done anything more than this. Unfortunately, we could not convince the honourable judges for which we are not only sad but we apologise to the people of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh and those outside who wanted us to win this legal battle from the core of my heart. I want to assure people that even as we have not been able to emerge victorious but we are not disheartened,” Abdullah said.

The NC leader argued that the SC has earlier in a three-bench judgement said that Article 370 was permanent but the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) did not stop its efforts to revoke it and so it is possible that another bench might reverse this judgement. “The struggle will continue. We are also prepared for the long haul,” he added. The NC leader also pointed towards the restrictions put near his house in the video message.

The Jammu and Kashmir Police, however, in a statement clarified that the police had given no such orders and was not connected with court proceedings including on article 370 by the apex court. “There are no restrictions on any movement. Examinations as scheduled by different public bodies are being held as scheduled, businesses are open and transport is plying,” the police said. 

Similar claims were made by other senior politicians, including People’s Democratic Party (PDP) president Mehbooba Mufti and Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, about their arrest in their respected residences.

Mufti termed the decision as a “setback” but asserted that it does not mark the end of their struggle. She also argued that the verdict reinforced the notion that J&K's accession to India is also temporary, echoing the sentiments of those who have long questioned the permanence of this relationship. During her address to the people, the PDP leader urged the people of J&K not to lose hope despite the SC's verdict.

"The Supreme Court's pronouncement on Article 370, declaring it as temporary, is not our defeat but the defeat of the secular and democratic idea of India with which we acceded, rejecting the two-nation theory," Mufti said in a video statement that she released in the wake of restrictions.

A five-judge Constitution bench, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) DY Chandrachud, had reserved its verdict on over 20 petitions in the matter on September 5 earlier this year following a marathon 16-day hearing. The bench, which also comprised Justices S K Kaul, Sanjeev Khanna, B R Gavai and Surya Kant, said that Jammu and Kashmir “held no internal sovereignty after accession to India”.

Jammu and Kashmir People’s Conference president Sajad Lone also termed the Supreme Court verdict as “disappointing” adding that “justice yet again eluded the people of the region”.

“Article 370 may have been legally obliterated but will always remain a part of our political aspirations. In the case of statehood the Supreme Court sidestepped even commenting on it, thus protecting the entire country from any future misuse, by citing precedence. Yet the same misuse was subtly endorsed in J&K. Let us hope at a future date Justice wakes up from its slumber of pretence,” he wrote on X.

The authorities had heightened security in the region as the SC was pronouncing its verdict. There was little enthusiasm amongst the residents in the region, especially in the capital city, Srinagar, where many people expressed disappointment over the verdict but added that it was on expected lines.

“We did not have much hopes in this regard. We lost our special status only after 1947 and there is nothing that could have been done,” a local of Srinagar said wishing anonymity.

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