J&K govt allows PDP meet, first after Art 370 abrogation

Authorities on Wednesday allowed youth wing of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to hold its first meeting after August 5 last year when government of India scrapped J&K’s special status.

The meeting was allowed after J&K administration thwarted three attempts by PDP leaders to hold meetings during the last one month.

The party’s youth wing president, Waheed-ur-Rehman Para said the reason for inviting youth leaders for the meeting was to “regroup and discuss several issues of importance.”

Parra said the purpose of the meeting was also to check if all of them will be allowed to move of their homes.

“Political detentions which took place during the last one year were discussed in the meeting today. We have been time and again demanding immediate release of all political detainees,” Para said.

He said continuous detention of the PDP President Mehbooba Mufti was a serious concern for the party.

“We have been continuously demanding the release of our party President,” he said/.

Other PDP leaders including Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, Abdul Rehman Veeri and Muhammad Khursheed Alam were also attended today’s meeting.

Among others who were present included Aijaz Mir, Arif Laigroo, Suhail Bukhari, Harbaksh Singh and Rouf Bhat.

However, many leaders including former ministers and ex-MLAs remained under house arrest. “During the meeting we recounted the problems which people of J&K had to go through after scrapping of the special status. We are determined to resist the constitutional fraud and bulldozing of rights and dignity of people of J&K,” said PDP media advisor, Suhail Bukhari.

On Tuesday, Union Ministry of Home Affairs had told the Parliament that no political leaders were under house arrest in Jammu and Kashmir.

However, political parties had said that many of their leaders still remained under house arrest.

Last month the PDP had planned to hold a meeting at the residence of the party patron Muzaffar Hussain Baig.

However, while authorities had not allowed several leaders to leave their homes for the meeting,  a section of PDP leaders had reportedly refused to attend the meeting and put forth a condition that they would attend the meeting only under leadership of Mehbooba Mufti, once she was released from detention. However, senior PDP leaders had told Greater Kashmir that such “rumours of a rift in the party were baseless.”

Meanwhile, the government nod to PDP meeting has been welcomed by leaders across party lines.

“Good to see @YouthJKPDP make a start with political meetings. Political activities must resume unhindered & the administration is duty bound to ensure a level playing field for all political parties,” National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah wrote on Twitter.

The PDP leaders also recently approached the Srinagar district authorities seeking permission to meet the party President, who remains under detention at her residence which has been declared as a “sub jail.”

Meanwhile, after the meeting PDPs youth wing passed a resolution “We reject the undemocratic treatment imposed on us by the ruling regime, which has deprived us of our rights and human dignity, which underpin the constitution. We demand an immediate end to ruling regime’s denial of the political problem.”

The resolution said: “Our people have endured a brutal clampdown and the world’s longest internet slowdown. Many of our youngsters continue to be unjustifiably held in jails, despite huge risks to their lives from COVID19. Our voices have been ignored, our institutions erased. We cannot afford to remain silent any longer. We need to speak now to restore our dignity and take charge of our own destinies.”

The resolution sought an “end to detention of all political prisoners and condemned the attack on media.