Revocation of Article 370 Unconstitutional, Rules Not Followed, Says Priyanka
Jammu and Kashmir: Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Tuesday said that the manner in which the BJP-led central government had moved to revoke Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir was "completely unconstitutional" and "against all the principles of democracy". There are rules to be followed when such things are done, which were not followed, she said, taking the Congress party's stand.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court today said it was all for restoration of normalcy in the state that has been in lockdown since the repeal of Article 370 but the move cannot be at the cost of lives. The court, while hearing a petition filed by political analyst Tehseen Poonawalla, said they were fortunate that not one death had taken place and it was important to rely on the government and give them some time.
Calling the petition badly drafted, the SC said it was all for liberty but the real picture must be presented before it.
The government said conditions would be relaxed but it depended on the situation on ground. “It is in our best interest to lift the restrictions one after another,” the Centre said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi has said the country should be aware that support from the United Nations against India's decision to repeal Article 370 won’t be forthcoming. Speaking to the media, Qureshi said: “Pakistanis should not live in a fool’s paradise. The United Nations won’t wait with garlands to accept our objections. The support of the Muslim community, which has investments, may also not be readily available.”
Pakistan had approached the United Nations Security Council after the Narendra Modi government decided to scrap the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcate the state.
However, some reports suggest that Poland, which holds the UNSC presidency at present — has made it clear that Delhi and Islamabad should find a solution to the issue “bilaterally”.
Barring a few minor incidents in which some people were injured, Eid al-Adha festivities passed off peacefully in Jammu and Kashmir and there was no firing anywhere in the Valley on Monday, police have said. Inspector-General of Police (Kashmir) SP Pani said the Jammu and Kashmir administration was committed to maintain peace and order and the state police worked in this direction.
"The Eid namaz was offered in different mosques and after the prayers, the congregations dispersed peacefully. There have been a couple of minor localised incidents of law and order which have been handled very professionally,” he said, adding that a couple of injuries were reported from these incidents. "Otherwise, the entire Valley situation is peaceful. I strongly deny any incident of firing anywhere in the Kashmir Valley."
On the eve of Eid al-Adha, restrictions were eased in the Valley to allow people to shop for the festival. But the usual hustle and bustle of one of the biggest festivals in Kashmir was missing.
Meanwhile, the central government on Monday wrote to Twitter to block "fake" accounts for allegedly spreading rumours about the prevailing situation in the erstwhile state after the abrogation of Article 370 last week, following which the micro-blogging site suspended four Twitter handles. Four more accounts are expected to be blocked soon for allegedly being engaged in similar activities, Twitter officials said.
Normal life in the Valley has been paralysed owing to heavy security deployment, restrictions on movement, and curtailing of communication links after the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status under Article 370 and moved a bill proposing bifurcation of the state on August 5.
Last Friday, people were allowed to visit neighbourhood mosques and offer prayers there.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said that Eid prayers were offered in all mosques in the Valley peacefully. "Today, namaz was offered by the people in every mosque. Namaz took place in every locality," he said.
Malik said that security restrictions were relaxed on Saturday and Sunday and people did shopping in normal conditions and all arrangements were put in place.
"But in troubled places, we will try to ensure peace because we don't want even a single life to be lost or people get injured. It is the responsibility of the government to protect our citizens," he said.
But the festive buzz was missing as Eid prayers were limited to neighbourhood mosques, authorities imposed strict controls and security forces fanned out across towns and villages, restricting the movement of people and prohibiting congregations in large grounds.
Rohit Kansal, principal secretary and the designated official spokesperson of the government, echoed Malik’s comments and said Eid was celebrated in 90% of the places.
Kansal said the district and divisional administrations carried out a number of activities, including interacting with maulvis and common people, ensuring trading activities in markets, and as a result the Eid festival has been extremely peaceful.
Roads were deserted across large swathes of the Valley, the silence broken only by police sirens and IAF helicopters hovering overhead. Kashmiris woke up to armed personnel deployed in every possible corner asking them to remain indoors.
The Eidgah ground and places such as the Hazratbal shrine, the TRC ground and the Syed Saheb mosque were quiet and desolate.
There were reports that former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were allowed to offer Eid prayers but no details were available. Several political leaders, who were picked up on August 5, offered prayers at the Centaur hotel on the banks of the Dal Lake, officials said.
The government provided them with an imam at the hotel where they have been kept since their detention, they added.