Uproar after J&K administrator rejected convention citing COVID

Srinagar: A magistrate’s refusal to authorize the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) convention in Srinagar, citing fears of the spread of COVID-19, has sparked a political row in Jammu and Kashmir. Party leader Mehbooba Mufti accused the administration of sabotaging the event.

The PDP convention’s denial of authorization came just three days after the J&K Apni Party led by BJP ally Altaf Bukhari held its first party convention in Srinagar, attended by hundreds of workers. and party leaders, raising serious questions about the functioning and impartiality of the J&K administration.

Apni party leaders were seen flouting COVID-19 standards during the Srinagar convention.

“Why do the Covid restrictions only apply to the PDP and not to other parties?” If the Prime Minister can attend rallies in Uttar Pradesh, how come Covid is spread if PDP holds a meeting? Mehbooba said at a press conference at his residence after the administration refused the party’s convention.

Suhail Bukhari, the chief spokesperson for the PDP, said his party had planned a one-day youth convention on the lawns of the Fairview Residence in Mehbooba, located in the upscale town of Gupkar. Hours before the convention, Suhail said the PDP leader was under house arrest, a charge dismissed by J&K police, and convention attendees were prevented from reaching the venue.

An unsigned order issued by an executive magistrate in Srinagar said that authorization of the PDP’s “youth conference” in Gupkar was “not permitted” due to COVID-19 and a “report received by the Office of the Chief Superintendent of Police “. He asked the cops “to make sure that such an event does not occur without the authorization of the authority”.

“Using force, the police turned back the young activists who had come from different parts of J&K to attend the event. We staged a protest in the party office, but the police mistreated our employees and also sealed the office, ”Suhail said. Thread, adding: “The COVID-19 virus appears to have mutated to work only against PDP, while everyone else appears to be immune. “

Barely an hour after the convention was thwarted, J&K police said in a statement that it was “not advisable” to authorize the convention given the “credible IED entries related to vehicles used for target civilians and high security installations ”in the“ high security ”area on Gupkar Road, where the PDP chief’s residence is located.

“First, they refused permission citing COVID-19. After realizing that they had authorized many political meetings in the past few days, they gave another threat twist of an “IED explosion”. The point is, the administration is pissed off by resistance from the PDP and young people who question their false narrative. We will not be intimidated. We are determined to fight democratically for our rights and our dignity, ”said Suhail.

With overturned chairs in the background, a visibly upset Mehbooba shared a video from the barren lawns of her residence, alleging that the administration, by denying the convention’s permission, was pushing Kashmiri youth towards violence “from so that it becomes easy for them to use batons and bullets ”.

“They think they’ve turned you away from my door because they’re petrified by your voice and what it can do. You have been prevented from joining me today, but this makes us more determined to remain faithful to our mission of peace with dignity, ”said Mehbooba.

“Prime Minister (Narendra Modi) delivered a long speech to (US President Joe) Biden on democracy in India. But they even destroyed the vestiges of democracy in Jammu and Kashmir, ”she added.

The J&K administration’s refusal to authorize the PDP convention citing the COVID-19 pandemic and security reasons came the day National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah addressed a large gathering of workers and party leaders in the Anantnag district in southern Kashmir. Photos from the site showed that most of the attendees, including NC leaders, were not following COVID-19 protocols.

Vice-president of the National Conference Omar Abdullah at the Anantnag convention.

In fact, the J&K administration itself has flouted its own standards by organizing rallies on union territory in the recent past, even though a recent order from Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta calls for a “strict” restriction on gatherings to 25. Experts are concerned that the chances of the novel coronavirus spreading are very high, as participants can be seen violating COVID-19 protocols during these events.

One such event was chaired by Lieutenant Governor J&K Manoj Sinha on November 26 to mark Constitution Day celebrations in Jammu. A number of photos released by the J&K News Service showed a gathering of around 300 people in a hall of the civil secretariat in Jammu with many attendees not wearing or inappropriately wearing masks.

While an official decree issued by the J&K administration authorizes gatherings in banquet halls, “preferably in open spaces”, in neighborhoods where the positivity rate is less than 0.2%, the decree calls for to restrict the gathering to 25% of the reception capacity. However, the function chaired by LG Sinha on Constitution Day showed that the room was packed.

Another recent function which was chaired by J&K LG Manoj Sinha which is in violation of the administrator’s own orders.

The National Conference, Congress and even the PDP also recently held massive public meetings and political rallies in the Chenab and Pir Panjal regions of Jammu, which were also facilitated by the J&K administration, despite concerns about the spread. of COVID-19.

On November 9, the People’s Conference (PC) held a convention in Kupwara district, northern Kashmir, attended by hundreds of activists, including Fayaz Mir, a former MP who recently joined the party led by Sajad Lone. Photos from the event show that attendees did not meet social distancing standards and that none of the more than 200 attendees wore masks.

After the refusal of the PDP convention, the PC also alleged that the J&K administration did not allow the party to hold a convention in Kupwara despite “repeated requests” while “the other parties are facilitated and have a free hand. to organize public gatherings (sic), ”the official party pseudonym tweeted.

“I am in awe. In the context of Omicron, DC Kupwara has no problem allowing other parties to organize rallies. But what covid DC kupwara protocol did he hide from the scientific community, which justified our party’s refusal to organize a rally just a week ago. 3 times denied ”, declared the secretary general of the Communist Party, Imran Reza Ansari.

Supporting the PDP leader, Congress leader Salman Anees Soz tweeted: Political rallies are taking place across India and even at J&K they have resumed. But restrictions are placed on @MehboobaMufti & @jkpdp. Why such special treatment @manojsinha_? “

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