The Congress and National Conference on Tuesday said that August 5 would go down as the “darkest day” in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh. On August 5 last year, the Centre abrogated the special status of Jammu and Kashmir under Article 370 of the Indian Constitution, and divided the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.

The Congress and National Conference held a joint meeting in Kargil on Tuesday. In the statement, they said the Bharatiya Janata Party had also been invited to attend, but did not do so.

“These two parties [Congress and National Conference] have strongly condemned the division of the erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir and has appealed for reintegration of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh and complete restoration of statehood to it,” the statement read. “...These parties have appealed to the people of Kargil to mark 5th of August as a black day to denounce the Central Government’s decision as a mark of strong protest.”

The two parties also condemned the loss of social and political rights of the people of Ladakh, and the region’s cultural identity. Under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019, Ladakh does not have a legislature but is ruled centrally.

The Congress and National Conference also said they will formulate a course of action “in the very near future”, and appealed to religious and social organisations in Kargil for support.

Meanwhile, Iltija Mufti, the daughter of Peoples Democratic Party chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, tweeted a meme from her mother’s account with the words “democracy on red alert”. The caption read: “Curfew in Jammu and Kashmir on 5th August. Because people are overjoyed over abrogation of Article 370 and might come in huge numbers to celebrate it.” Mehbooba Mufti has been under detention since August 5 last year.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Jammu and Kashmir administration announced a complete curfew in Kashmir ahead of the anniversary of the revocation of special status. The Srinagar district magistrate in an order said they have received inputs about separatists and Pakistan-sponsored groups planning to observe August 5 as “Black Day”.

‘All promises have been a mirage’: CPI(M)

Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday said all the promises made by the Centre at the time of revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir had been belied, PTI said.

“Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah justified the decision on the floor of the house, that it would end decades-long militancy, separatism and corruption in the region and bring development, jobs and prosperity,” Tarigami said. “However, one year down the line, promises proved to be a mirage and the claims a hoax. None of the aforementioned claims pass the test of reality.” Tarigami questioned the need for using laws like the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and the Public Safety Act in the Union Territories if the situation on the ground was normal.

Tarigami also brushed away the Centre’s claims of job creation and investments in the Kashmir Valley, pointing out that hundreds of thousands of people have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus-induced lockdown and the security situation. He said the back of the Jammu and Kashmir economy has been broken over the last year, and many businesses have bitten the dust.

“Not only people of the Valley, but residents of Jammu and Ladakh regions too are suffering because of the wrong policies of the BJP government,” the CPI(M) leader alleged. “The uncertainties and uneasy calm combined with alienation poses a greater threat to the sociopolitics of the state.”

Tarigami added that the only thing the revocation of special status had achieved was “abrogation of democracy” in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh. “On this dark anniversary and at this critical juncture of our history we must resolve to unitedly safeguard the interests of our people and resist the attempts of the government to throttle democracy and rights of the people,” he asserted.