Valley politicians on Saturday expressed fear about a possible government clampdown on them ahead of Monday’s much-awaited Supreme Court verdict on the abrogation of Article 370 provisions, a move that removed the special status of the erstwhile Jammu and Kashmir state.
Former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti feared that the Supreme Court might uphold the government’s move and claimed that security agencies had started collecting the names of her People’s Democratic Party (PDP) workers.
“Since last night, what I am seeing is that political parties — particularly, I am hearing about the PDP — that lists of our workers are being sought through police stations,” she told reporters here.
“It appears that some decision is coming out which might not be in the interest of Jammu and Kashmir and the country, but will further the agenda of the BJP.”
She added: “Some precautionary measures are being taken, which I regret. I want to tell the Supreme Court that your responsibility is not to further the BJP agenda but is towards the integrity of the country and its Constitution. You should have regard for that.”
Mehbooba regretted that the apex court had taken more than four years to come out with a verdict despite previous judgments saying that Article 370 cannot be changed without the consent of the Jammu and Kashmir Constituent Assembly. The Constituent Assembly formulated the Constitution of Jammu and Kashmir soon after Independence, and was then dissolved.
“I think the verdict should be straight that what they (the Centre) did on August 5, 2019, was illegal, against the Constitution, against Jammu and Kashmir and against the promises made to the people of Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.
Former chief minister Omar Abdullah of the National Conference said he could only hope and pray that the verdict would be “in favour of the people of Jammu and Kashmir”. He, however, expressed apprehensions that Kashmir’s politicians might be put under house detention ahead of the verdict.
“They need an excuse to put us under house arrest and they have an excuse. As we are not aware of what the decision will be, so are they (not aware). (But) if they know, then there should be an investigation,” Omar told reporters after a party convention in Kulgam.
Omar said his party colleagues had been told they wouldn’t be allowed to move out of their homes on Monday.
Addressing the rally, Omar said the government had on Friday evening informed the National Conference that the permission granted for a party convention in Sangrama Baramulla on Monday had been withdrawn.
“We were discussing whether we should go ahead with the programme (at Sangrama) and meanwhile we received a letter from the government saying that (they) have cancelled the permission for Monday. They didn’t even explain why the permission was cancelled. What is your (government’s) fear?” Omar said.
He said no one could predict what would happen on Monday, and added that his party would offer a formal reaction after the verdict.