The National Conference on Friday said party president Farooq Abdullah was stopped from offering prayers at the Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar on the occasion of Prophet Mohammad’s birthday. The party alleged that the Jammu and Kashmir administration blocked Abdullah’s residence to prevent him from leaving.
A gathering was expected at the shrine for the congregational Friday noon prayers, according to the Hindustan Times. The National Conference said it condemned “this infringement of fundamental right to pray”, especially on the occasion of Milad Un Nabi.
Peoples Democratic Party chief Mehbooba Mufti said the government’s alleged act of stopping Abdullah from offering prayers exposed the government of India’s “deep paranoia” and “iron fist approach” towards Jammu and Kashmir. Mufti said this “highly condemnable” action was a gross violation of the rights of the people of the erstwhile state.
The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration condemned the incident saying that the actions of the administration were tantamount to interfering with the religious freedom of Abdullah. “This marks a new low in the curtailment of fundamental rights of the people of J-K,” Sajad Lone, the spokesperson of the People’s Alliance, said in a statement. “We demand that the blockade be removed so that Dr Farooq Sahib is able to perform his religious duties.”
The alleged restrictions on Abdullah’s movements come at a time when the entire mainstream leadership in Kashmir that was locked up last year have regrouped. On October 15, leaders of six major parties in Kashmir announced the People’s Alliance to restore the special status of Jammu and Kashmir, abrogated by the Centre on August 5 last year.
The new alliance takes its name from a series of meetings held at Gupkar, in Srinagar, once the political nerve centre of Jammu and Kashmir. Abdullah was unanimously chosen as the chairperson of the People’s Alliance on October 24.
Days before, he was summoned by the Enforcement Directorate for questioning in connection with alleged misappropriation of funds of the Jammu and Kashmir Cricket Association. Abdullah, who was the president of the association when the alleged irregularities took place, was questioned twice by the central agency.