Protests erupted across the country against the Narendra Modi government “unconstitutional” move to strip Jammu and Kashmir of its special status by scrapping part of Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcation of the state into two federal territories.
The Left parties-led by CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury staged a demonstration at the Jantar Mantar in national capital Delhi, slamming the Modi government for scrapping part of Article 370 and demanded that the earlier status of the state be restored.
The protesters included senior Left leaders like Prakash Karat, CPI general secretary D Raja, CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya, Brinda Karat and Atul Anjan among others. The protesters at Jantar Mantar also torched an effigy of Prime Minister Narendra Modi during their agitation.
"This protest is just the start. We will take to the streets and continue this fight. Unity does not mean territory alone, it involves unity of the people also," CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, adding that the Left parties will hold an all-India protest on Tuesday to resist the move.
In BJP ruled Karnataka, hundreds of activists from various organisations displayed placards during a protest march in capital city of Bengaluru and demanded taking back the decision to scrap the constitutional provision that guarantees special rights to people of Kashmir.
Bengaluru: Activists from several organisations organised a protest against removal of Kashmir's special status
The Narendra Modi government, in a muscular move, scrapped special status of Jammu and Kashmir by removing several clauses of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution. The government also said that it will support a Bill to divide the state into two Union Territories (UTs).
In anticipation of the announcement, which is likely to spark unrest, the government had flooded the Valley with thousands of additional troops and evacuated tourists and Hindi pilgrims. Mainstream politicians, including former chief ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah along with many others have been arrested and taken to unknown locations.
The authorities have also closed educational institutions and severed communication channels. Kashmiris living outside the state expressed their angst against the shut down of internet and mobile services as they were unable to contact their families living in curfew like situation in the Valley.
Bengaluru: A Kashmiri man holding a placard during protest against removal of Article 370
Jaleel Ahmad Bhat, a local Kashmiri businessman said that they don't know how the situation will develop after the curfew-like restrictions are withdrawn and felt that the state may be heading towards the worst of times.
"My two children are studying outside the state and there is no contact with them. I know they will be worried about the situation here and I also don’t know how they are doing," Bhat, who was in Jammu, said.
Fayaz Ahmad Dar, who was returning from Delhi after shopping for his sister’s wedding, said the developments in the Valley have left him heartbroken.
"My younger sister is getting married on August 13 and we have made all necessary arrangements. I don’t know whether the marriage will take place or not given the sudden developments over the past few weeks," he said.