A year on, Gupkar barricaded again

The high profile Gupkar road on Wednesday witnessed similar scenes as that of August 5, 2019 as pools of concertina wires, barricades and security vehicles blocked the stretch leading to the residence of former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Dr Farooq Abdullah. This prevented several political leaders from reaching the Abdullah residence, where they were scheduled to “discuss the prevailing political situation in J&K” in a meeting called by the senior Abdullah.

Last year on August 5, when the Government of India abrogated Article 370, movement of traffic had remained restricted on the Gupkar Road, as many of the political leaders including then ministers residing here, were either put under house arrest or detained and moved to other locations.

However, the National Conference president Dr Farooq Abdullah had called a meeting a day before the Centre’s move last year where the leaders of the valley-based political parties came up with ‘Gupkar Declaration’. In the meeting, the leaders had resolved to “fight against any attempts to abrogate the constitutional provisions that guaranteed the special status to Jammu and Kashmir or any move to trifurcate the state using undemocratic means”.

On Wednesday morning, security was intensified to disallow any political gathering for which entry of civilian vehicles on the Gupkar Road was totally barred. Security personnel posted at the barricades were seen diverting the traffic while even mediapersons were not allowed towards the Abdullah residence. People travelling to Nishat, Shalimar and other areas had to take a de-tour and travel via Dalgate.

Several political parties including National Conference (NC), Peoples Conference (PC), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Congress, Awami National Conference (ANC) , CPI (M), PDF and J&K People’s Movement headed by former bureaucrat turned politician Shah Faesal were scheduled to attend the meet.

ANC senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah, CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami, NC MP from Baramulla Akbar Lone were prevented from moving out of their residences to reach Gupkar Road. National Conference MP from Anantnag in south Kashmir Hasnain Masoodi and PDP’s Rajya Sabha member Fayaz Mir were turned away from Gupkar Road citing restrictions imposed by the authorities due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the district, NC leaders said.