Had the meeting taken place, it would have been the first such gathering of the PDP since the Modi government's decision to scrap Article 370.
The Peoples Democratic Party has alleged that the party had to cancel its scheduled meeting because leaders were not allowed to leave their homes. According to a report in The Indian Express, the meeting was slated to take place in Srinagar at the PDP office.
Had the meeting taken place, it would have been the first such gathering of the PDP since the Modi government’s decision to scrap Article 370 and bifurcate the state into two Union Territories.
The meeting was convened by PDP general secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone.
“We have cancelled the meeting. The leaders weren’t allowed to move out of their houses. I was not allowed to move out,” Lone told The Indian Express.
Lone said that the party had written to senior officials in the J&K administration, including Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir), IGP (Kashmir), Deputy Commissioner (Srinagar) and SSP (Srinagar), informing them about the meeting to be held indoors. But police did not let them leave their homes.
When the IE asked Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) K Pandurang Pole about the meeting, he replied that their letter was only for information and that they did not ask for permission.
“… so the question of rejecting it does not arise. The DM (Srinagar) has acknowledged their letter and sent them the SOPs with regard to Covid,” Pole said.
The September 1 dated PDP letter was signed by Lone. “The Peoples Democratic Party is convening a meeting of its senior leaders at the party headquarters in Srinagar on 3rd of September 2020 at 1100 hrs. Since only the senior leaders are participating, it won’t be a huge gathering and we would ensure that the measures and protocols with regard to COVID 19 pandemic are adhered to during the meeting,” it said.
Meanwhile, sources told IE that authorities had advised the PDP in an email to refer to SOPs issued by the State Executive Committee under the Disaster Management Act. PDP spokesperson Suhail Bukhari confirmed that he received an email on Wednesday night.
Bukhari asked why do the pandemic guidelines apply only to PDP and at the same time other political gatherings are taking place in Kashmir.
“What are the reasons for not allowing PDP leaders to leave their homes in other districts?” Bukhari said.
Notably, the Jammu and Kashmir administration has allowed meetings of the National Conference, BJP and Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party to hold political activities over the last few weeks.
Meanwhile, PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti continues to be under detention at her residence. The Centre had in July extended her detention by three months under the Public Safety Act. She was among other mainstream politicians to be placed under preventive custody just ahead of the August 5 last year’s decision to end Jammu and Kashmir’s special status and bifurcate it into two UTs.While majority of them have been released, Mufti is perhaps the only mainstream politician to be under preventive custody.