Srinagar: The unimaginable has happened with Kashmir’s most loyal family to India, who acted as a bridge, since 1947 between the Union of India and the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, as they were arrested immediately after they took to roads, protesting against the Centre’s move to revoke Jammu & Kashmir’s semi-autonomous status and carve it into two Union Territories.
On Tuesday, the sister and daughter of the former chief minister and incumbent parliamentarian, Dr. Farooq Abdullah along with scores of women protesters were detained by the authorities after they staged a protest in Srinagar against the abrogation of Article 370.
This was the first protest by any group in the summer Capital of J&K since August 5.
It’s pertinent to mention that most of the top-level and second-rung separatist politicians have been taken into preventive custody while mainstream leaders, including two former Chief Ministers – Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, have been either detained or placed under house arrest.
Sitting Lok Sabha MP from Srinagar Dr. Farooq Abdullah has been arrested under the controversial Public Safety Act, a law enacted by his father and National Conference founder Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah in 1978 when he was the chief minister.
“This is not India I believe,” Abdullah said on August 06, soon after Article 35-A was scrapped and he was placed under house arrest.
Wearing black armbands and holding placards, the women assembled at Srinagar’s Pratap Park here to stage a sit-in. However, police reached the spot and tried to disperse the women protesters.
Soon after they came out from Pratap Park, the protesters led by the sister and daughter of the incarcerated incumbent parliamentarian, expressed resentment against the police officials for disallowing them from staging a sit-in.
Talking to reporters, Suraiya Abdullah Mattoo, sister of Dr Farooq, said the protest was organized to seek an answer from the government about the humiliation being faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir. “We have been humiliated and we want the government to answer about this humiliation,” she said.
She added that they should have been allowed to express their views and anger against the government decision. “We have been betrayed,” she added.
Suraiya further stated that the government is afraid of releasing the leaders who are caged from the last 72 days in Kashmir. “The government will not release the leaders in Kashmir as they are afraid of these leaders. There is fear among people as well as the government is not even allowing a silent protest,” she said.
“Our rights have been snatched and we want the government to give back our rights,” she said.
The statement that was distributed during the time of protest, reads “We, the women of Kashmir disapprove the unilateral decision taken by the government of India to revoke article 370, 35A and downgrade and split the state of Jammu and Kashmir.”
The protesters also slammed national media for their “false and misleading” coverage of ground realities in Kashmir. “We express our outrage against the national media for their false/misleading coverage of ground realities in Kashmir,” the statement added.
They also demanded immediate release of detainees and demilitarization of rural and urban areas.
Meanwhile, the police later swung into action and detained dozens of women protesters including the daughter and sister of Dr. Farooq Abdullah.
The protesters were detained in Central Jail Srinagar, according to Jammu and Kashmir Police.