The government on Sunday allowed National Conference to have a rally in south Kashmir that was attended by a large number of people. The party’s vice president Omar Abdullah addressed the rally. Jammu and Kashmir government didn’t allow the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to have a youth convention citing the Covid-19 protocol. At the same time, the Peoples Conference said they are not being allowed to hold rallies and conventions at the party’s stronghold Kupwara region.
The PDP was all set to have a youth convention at the Fairview residence of Mehbooba Mufti at Gupkar on Sunday morning. However, an hour before the youth convention the government issued orders saying that “Covid-19 restrictions are in place and it is hereby ordered that the scheduled youth conference that is to be held by the PDP at Gupkar is not allowed.” The government directed the station house officer of the area to ensure no such event takes place in his area.
Mehbooba Mufti accused the government led by Manoj Sinha of sabotaging the democracy in the region and pushing youths to despair and hopelessness. Moving around the empty chairs where her party’s youth workers were supposed to sit during the youth convention, she said, the government is deliberately keeping youths away from such events and thus pushing them towards violence so that it becomes easy for the government to torture and beat them. “This is what they have been doing for the past three years. The youths are feeling suffocated as they have been confined to their homes. They want to come out but the government is not permitting them to do it,” she said. “Today thousands of youths were scheduled to reach here. They wanted to have a conversation. They wanted to talk and they wanted to speak. But the government doesn't want to have them this conversation,” she said. “I am proud of these youths. The government is not frightened of me. It is frightened of them. You (youths) should continue on your path and continue your peaceful struggle democratically,” she added. She said recently Prime Minister Narendra Modi told US President Joe Biden about the greatness of Indian democracy but in Jammu and Kashmir, democracy and democratic norms are trampled upon. “We are being stopped to hold meetings citing Covid excuses. And there are leaders who travel all around to reach out to people but we are not,” she added. “Why PDP is being stopped? Why I am not allowed to meet you (youths)," she said.
She said the resources of J&K are being usurped and the rulers are behaving like robbers.
Peoples Conference General Secretary Imran Reza Ansari accused the deputy commissioner of Kupwara of not allowing the party to hold a rally in the region and said the official was acting like National Conference Mohalla president. “We have repeatedly asked him (the DC) that we should be given permission to hold workers' meet in the area. The district development council of the area is headed by PC. We have MLAs from the region and we have got more votes from the region than any other party and still, we are not allowed to hold an event there,” Ansari said. He said at times the Peoples Conference is denied permission citing security reasons and at times Covid-19 protocols are cited as the reason. “We want to ask how other parties are getting permission to hold rallies,” Ansari said asking the governor of J&K Manoj Sinha to intervene in the matter. He accused the deputy commissioner Kupwara of behaving like a worker of the National Conference.
The government spokesman hasn't spelled out any criteria for how it is allowing some parties to hold rallies and denying permission to others citing Covid-19.