SRINAGAR: A number of mainstream politicians in Jammu and Kashmir, who were prevented by authorities from meeting to hold a discussion on the first anniversary of the abrogation of special status of the erstwhile state, took to social media to express their disappointment.
National Conference president Farooq Abdullah had called an all-party meeting at his Gupkar Road residence here on Wednesday but the authorities did not allow leaders to reach the meeting citing pandemic-related restrictions.
BJP's Kashmir unit celebrated the "historic day" and distributed sweets among its workers at the party headquarters at Jawahar Nagar in the Civil Lines area of Srinagar town, pictures of which were uploaded online by local journalists.
Taking note of the pictures of BJP leaders exchanging sweets, Abdullah's son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah tweeted, "BJP displaying its hypocrisy. They can gather and celebrate. The rest of us can't even meet to discuss what's happening in J&K."
After the meeting called by his father could not take place, Omar tweeted, "One year on, this is Gupkar road today - police vehicles opposite our gates, concertina wire strung across the road at regular intervals and no vehicles allowed. My father had called a meeting of leaders of MAINSTREAM parties to deliberate on the current situation".
In a veiled reference to an earlier statement by BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav that politicians should step up their activities, Omar said, "Clearly the meeting is not being allowed to go ahead. The BJP gets to announce a 15 day celebration to mark 5th Aug and a handful of us aren't allowed to meet on my father's lawn. So much for BJP national leaders wondering why there is no political activity".
PDP president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, whose twitter handle is being operated by her daughter Iltija, said on the micro blogging site, "until the restoration of the special position of Jammu and Kashmir, August 5 will be observed as Black Day. This is the issue of our identity and existence, this is the battle of all of us that we have to fight collectively."
She also posted a picture of four PDP workers staging a protest outside the party office in Srinagar after which it was sealed by the authorities.
"Despite the stringent and unofficial curfew, a handful of PDP workers managed to stage a protest in Srinagar today.
The number might seem insignificant but symbolises how tough it is for the people of JK to peacefully protest," she tweeted.
Taking a dig at the authorities, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami tweeted, "locks on gates, lock downs as celebrations and lies as defences has been the hallmark of last year.
Today, political leaders were supposed to meet at Dr Farooq Abdullah's residence to discuss the political challenges the region is facing. But unfortunately, we were not allowed."
Omar replied to him by tweeting, "not to worry Tarigami Sb some senior journalists have been parachuted into Srinagar to tell the nation how normal everything is. I suppose in a sense they are correct because this IS the new normal for 'new Kashmir'."
People's Conference chairman Sajjad Lone, whose party was an alliance partner in the last government of the erstwhile state, tweeted, "sadness and emptiness billow amongst the vast swathes of helplessness and hopelessness. It is faceless. The newness is eerie and scary. The trees, the birds, the gaiety of summer seem all caged. What a sad day. What a sad reminder."
J&K BJP's spokesperson Altaf Thakur hit out at parties like National Conference and PDP which have termed August 5 as "black day", claiming these parties were sympathisers of ISIS.
"Those who are in love with 'black' are sympathisers of ISIS. Today is a colourful day and it is an ideological battle between black and colourful forces. The colourful forces will emerge victorious. They (opponents) should think what they are supporting," he said.
Thakur said the abrogation of Article 370 last year was "the only operation in the history in which not a single bullet was fired, not a single stone was pelted".