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PDP Leaders Detained, Mufti Calls it Spectacle to Celebrate Article 370’s Abrogation

The PDP had sought the Srinagar administration’s permission to hold an event regarding the abrogation of Article 370.

PDP president and former CM Mehbooba Mufti said party leaders were arrested after a midnight crackdown.

Srinagar: Several Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) workers, including its president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, were put under house arrest on Saturday, which marked the fourth anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370. The police also “sealed” the National Conference’s (NC) Srinagar office.

The PDP had sought the Srinagar administration’s permission to hold an event regarding the abrogation of Article 370 but wasn’t permitted.

“I’ve been put under house arrest along with other senior PDP leaders today. This comes after a midnight crackdown where scores of my party men are illegally detained in police stations. GOIs false claims about normalcy to the SC stands exposed by theirs actions driven by paranoia,” Mufti tweeted.

“On one hand, giant hoardings calling upon Kashmiris to ‘celebrate’ the illegal abrogation of Article 370 have been put up across Srinagar. Whereas brute force is being used to choke the actual sentiment of the people. Hope the Hon’ble SC takes cognisance of these developments at a time when Article 370 has come up for hearing,” she added

“We had sought permission to hold a peaceful programme at Sher-e-Kashmir park in front of the PDP headquarters in Srinagar on Saturday but it was denied,” a party insider said. 

On Friday night, several PDP workers in Srinagar and Budgam, including general secretary Ghulam Nahi Lone Hanjura and Budgam district president Mohammad Yasin Bhat, were put under house arrest.

Stating that their actions have exposed the “facade of normalcy”, Mufti slammed the BJP for creating a spectacle of celebration of Article 370’s revocation, which she alleged is being done to “hoodwink the public opinion” in the country. 

“Why is @JmuKmrPolice detaining PDP leaders on the eve of 5th August? Arif Laigroo has been taken by the police in this video. BJP is given a free run to carry out the tamasha of celebrating illegal abrogation of Article 370 in Srinagar. All this is being done to hoodwink the public opinion in the country. Just goes on to expose the facade of normalcy - a fake narrative to justify their illegal actions,” she tweeted on Friday night.

According to the party, the police also detained youth president Waheed-u-Rehman Parra, state secretary Abdul Hameed Kohsheen, additional spokesperson Abdul Rouf Bhat, district president Srinagar Abdul Qayoom Bhat and constituency heads Zuhaib Yousuf Mir and Mohd. Iqbal Tramboo.

The NC tweeted: “True to form and in keeping with the clampdown on mainstream democratic activities organised by parties opposed to 5th Aug 2019, the JKNC office has been sealed by the police. No one is being allowed in or out of the office.”

The NC termed the action “nervousness of the administration” and said that it “renders hollow their claims regarding great improvements in the last four years”.

The party recently organised its 24th foundation day during which several leaders, including Mufti, addressed hundreds of its supporters and pledged to fight the BJP in all the upcoming elections and work towards a solution to the larger Kashmir issue. 

The PDP had formed a coalition government with the BJP after the last Assembly election in 2014 based on Agenda of Alliance, a guiding framework for governance. The BJP, however, withdrew its support to Mufti in 2018, leading to Governor’s Rule for over a year.   

The PDP has allied with the BJP despite local opposition and defended its decision—calling it a bear hug—in view of the fractured mandate during the last election. It is now one of the most vocal opposition voices against the BJP in the region since the abrogation of Article 370.

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