Kashmir News LATEST updates: The identity of people of Jammu and Kashmir is neither at stake nor tampered with after the abrogation of the state's special status by the Centre, Governor Satya Pal Malik said on Thursday after hoisting the national flag on the 73rd Independence Day in Srinagar on Thursday. Terming the changes introduced by the Centre as "historical", Malik said they will open a new door of development and help various communities promote their languages and cultures in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
"In the last 70 years people were lead astray from the main issues of economic development, peace and prosperity. Instead of paying attention to these issues people were misled on issues which are irrelevant to their lives,” he said at the Sher-i-Kashmir stadium in his address on the first Independence Day function in the Valley after the abrogation.
In a series of tweets, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan slammed the Narendra Modi-led Indian government for 'presence of extra troops' and a "12-day curfew" in an 'already heavily militarized occupied territory'. Khan, who has been attacking the Indian government since the abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, further said that what was happening in Kashmir was an "example of Modi's earlier ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Gujarat."
Indian government or officials have not responded to the tweet yet.
Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik unfurled the National Flag in Srinagar's Sher-i-Kashmir stadium in the first Independence Day celebration in Jammu and Kashmir after the abrogation of its special status. After unfurling the flag, Malik inspected the parade of para-military forces and Jammu and Kashmir Police.
Restrictions were put in place here in the wake of the abrogation of the special status under Article 370 of the Constitution.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, speaking on various topics in his first Independence Day speech during his second term in office, also touched upon the contentious abrogation of Articles 370 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said that he fails to understnd the reasoning behind support to Article 370 and Article 35A. He said, "If these provisions were so important for Jammu and Kashmir's welfare, why did the previous governments leave it as a temporary provision despite multiple opportunities to make it permanent?"
He added, "This means that they knew that this wasn't right but they lacked the will to set things right."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi began his speech on occasion of the 73rd Independence Day on Thursday, addressing the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort in Delhi after hoisting the National Flag. Delivering a 'report card' of the BJP-led NDA government in the first 10 weeks of its second term, Modi also weighed in on the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A in Jammu and Kashmir.
Preparations in Jammu and Kashmir for the 73rd Independence Day celebrations were underway on Wednesday. With Thursday to mark the first Independence Day after the revocation of the state's special status under Article 370, Jammu and Kashmir principal secretary Rohit Kansal said that some restrictions in the Valley will continue to remain in place.
At a press conference, Kansal said on Wednesday, "There will be some restrictions for tomorrow (Thursday). The general view is that the situation has been calm. Relaxations will be based on local assessment."
Dress rehearsal was held in every district of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh ahead of the official celebrations. Officials informed Governor Satya Pal Malik that necessary arrangements have been put in place for smooth conduct of the celebrations.
In a meeting held at Raj Bhavan on Wednesday evening, Malik reviewed the status of the prevailing security, law and order, and availability of basic and essential services to people in the state.
Jammu and Kashmir Additional General of Police (Law and Order) Munir Khan has appealed the people to celebrate the Independence Day with vigour and fervour. The authorities have also directed sarpanches to hoist the national flag in their respective panchayats on Independence Day.
Shah Faesal put under house arrest
IAS officer-turned-politician Shah Faesal was sent back to Kashmir from the Delhi airport on Wednesday, and detained under the Public Safety Act (PSA).
Faesal, who was bound for Istanbul, was detained at the airport during the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. His purpose of visiting Turkey was not immediately known, and he was later put under house arrest after being brought back to Kashmir.
There was no clarity on who detained Faesal from the Delhi airport. Reuters journalist Devjyot Ghoshal and a few other mediapersons quoted the airport DCP as saying that the police at the Indira Gandhi International Airport did not detain Faesal. The Hindu journalist Vijaita Singh tweeted that the immigration department also didn't stop Faesal.
With the development, Faesal joined a list of politicians from Jammu and Kashmir who have been placed under home detention. Former Jammu and Kashmir chief ministers Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti have been under house arrest since the Centre revoked Jammu and Kashmir's special status and announced that the state be bifurcated into the territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
Imran Khan vows to become 'Kashmir's voice'
Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday vowed to become the voice of Kashmir and raise the issue at "every global forum", including the United Nations, as he questioned the silence of the international community on the situation in the region.
Addressing a special session of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir's (PoK) Legislative Assembly in Muzaffarabad, Khan said that if a war breaks out between Pakistan and India, the international community will be responsible. "The world's eye is on Kashmir and on Pakistan... I will be the ambassador who raises Kashmir's voice at every international forum," he said.
Khan, who was in Muzaffarabad to observe Pakistan's Independence Day in 'solidarity' with the Kashmiris, termed the Indian move to scrap provisions of Article 370 as a "strategic blunder."
Khan also said that Pakistan will respond with full force if India launches any aggression against his country. "The Pakistan Army has full knowledge... India has made a plan to take action" in PoK, he said.
Khan claimed that the RSS' ideology has "emboldened" from the Babri mosque incident to the increase in lynchings of Muslims and the atrocities in Kashmir, because "they have not faced any resistance from the intentional community".
"We are all concerned at the moment about truth of the humanitarian crisis and the atrocities created by this lockdown that has been imposed," he said. "We have to make the world realise that RSS ideology is exactly like the Nazi ideology. After World War II, the world made a collective decision that such genocide would never be repeated again. The RSS ideology is heading that way again."
He also claimed that Muslims in India who were once against the two-nation theory were now saying that Mohammad Ali Jinnah was right. "When I used to play cricket in India; Muslims from affluent households used to say the two nation theory wasn’t right. Today, those same people say Quaid-e-Azam (Mohammad Ali Jinnah) was absolutely right," said Khan.
He further claimed that the "Pandora’s box" of the RSS ideology will not stop at Muslims, and it will spillover to the Sikh community, and the Christian community. "It is an epidemic," he said.
Meanwhile, Pakistan summoned India's Deputy High Commissioner Gaurav Ahluwalia and condemned the alleged "unprovoked ceasefire violations" by Indian troops across the Line of Control.
Mohammad Faisal, Director General (South Asia and SAARC) and Pakistan foreign ministry spokesperson, summoned Ahluwalia to condemn "the unprovoked ceasefire violations" by the Indian forces on 13 August in Hot Spring Sector in which a 38-year-old man from Laychayal village was killed, the Pakistan foreign office was quoted as saying by PTI.
The security clampdown in Jammu and Kashmir has been imposed since 5 August when the Union government stripped the state of its special status and bifurcated it into Union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. While Pakistan observed 14 August — its Independence Day — as the 'Kashmir Solidarity Day', it will observe 15 August as 'Black Day'.
With inputs from agencies