Barred from Leaving Our Homes to Protest Against Delimitation Commission, Say Gupkar Alliance Leaders

Leaders of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Saturday said they had been barred from leaving their homes to protest the recent draft recommendations of the delimitation commission that plans on awarding Jammu region six assembly seats and only one to Kashmir.

Also, police personnel deployed on the main road leading to the Gupkar enclaves were not allowing party functionaries to go to Abdullah or Mufti residences. Commuters were asked questions before being allowed to use the Gupkar passage.

Former chief minister and National Conference vice-president Omar Abdullah shared pictures of the entrance to his father’s residence and tweeted to say “police trucks” have been parked outside their gates to “scuttle” the peaceful protest.

“Good morning & welcome to 2022. A new year with the same J&K police illegally locking people in their homes & an administration so terrified of normal democratic activity. Trucks parked outside our gates to scuttle the peaceful @JKPAGD sit-in protest. Some things never change,” he wrote.

“Talk about a lawless police state, the police have even locked the internal gate connecting my father’s home to my sister’s. Yet our leaders have the cheek to tell the world that India is the largest democracy, hah!!”

Abdullah’s tweet was shared by former chief minister of J&K and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who is a member of the PAGD headed by Farooq Abdullah. She, too, tweeted: “GOI trumpets scrapping Article 370 & dismembering J&K throughout the country but is deeply paranoid & intolerant when people of J&K want to protest against its disempowerment. For the umpteenth time, we’ve been placed under house arrest for trying to organise a peaceful protest.”

Awami National Conference President Begum Khalida Shah and senior vice-president Muzaffar Shah, too, claimed that they were placed under house arrest ahead of the PAGD protest.

PAGD spokesperson Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami said police closed the gates of his premises during midnight.

“Gates were closed at midnight. They have told security personnel and other staff (deployed at my premises) to inform me not to leave the premises,” Tarigami said, adding, “we had decided to hold a peaceful protest today against unconstitutional and divisive draft of delimitation commission. We wanted to register a peaceful protest.”

At a meeting in Jammu, the Gupkar Alliance had announced a protest in Srinagar on January 1 against the draft proposal of delimitation commission.

The PAGD had maintained all along that the commission report was not acceptable to them given that it did not take population as a baseline parameter to award seats.

In its statement, the commission had said apart from population they had taken geographical terrain, road connectivity and public convenience as parameters to give seats.

The National Conference by virtue of being associate members of the commission filed their reservations to the draft report on Friday.

The PAGD had rejected the draft proposal and called it “an act to divide people on the basis of religion”.

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