Those 689 Days

Between the candle march on the night of August 4, 2019, and the meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 24, 2021, Kashmir politics underwent a lot of developments in 689 days, a Kashmir Life report

All-party meeting at the residence of Dr Farooq Abdullah in anticipation of August 5, 2019 decision

The traditional politics in Jammu and Kashmir underwent an unprecedented situation after the BJP led government intervened in August 2019.

August 5, 2019

By midnight, former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were under house arrest. They broke the news on Twitter within half an hour around midnight on August 4, 2019. Entire Jammu and Kashmir was under lock and key when Home Minister Amit Shah passed the twin resolutions in the Rajya Sabha that read down Article 370 and bifurcation Jammu and Kashmir into two union territories. People came to know through TV sets as the internet and all kinds of telephones were closed during the night.

August 6, 2019

A day later, Dr Farooq Abdullah somehow managed to come out of his home. He first reached TRC, apparently to talk to media, and finally reached a hotel in his backyard, where he talked to a number of TV journalists. He broke down on camera.

Omar Abdullah, NC VP, speaking to the media at his residence on August 3, 2019, after meeting governor Satya Pal Malik over the prevailing situation. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

Subsequently, it was learnt that Dr Abdullah had been detained at his home, whereas Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti were detained at the Hari Niwas guest house that was converted into a special sub-jail. Fearing, they may gang up; authorities shifted Mehbooba to a hut at Chasmashahi.

It was much later known that hundreds of workers and leaders from almost all the political parties have been arrested, or restricted to their homes. Centaur Lake View Hotel was converted into a sub-jail and most of the lawmakers from all parties were put up there.

August 14, 2019

The 2009 IAS topper, Dr Shah Faesal, who had given up his job and joined politics, was detained at the Delhi airport when he was on his way to Turkey and flown to Srinagar. He was arrested under the Public Safety Act (PSA).

Omar Abdullah with his aunt and sister, who were the first family members to meet him in Hari Niwas jail on August 26, 2019. The selfie was released by Omar on Twitter.

August 25, 2019

Rahul Gandhi led the delegation of the opposition parties was intercepted at Srinagar airport and sent back to Delhi.

September 16, 2019

Dr Farooq Abdullah was booked under Public Safety Act, coinciding with the Supreme Court direction to the Centre to produce Abdullah before the court.

September 20, 2019

After being prevented thrice, Ghulam Nabi Azad finally visited Kashmir after being permitted by the Supreme Court.

Dr Farooq Abdullah with the 15 member delegation of his party workers at his Gupkar residence declared sub-jail by the government. . KL Image by Bilal Bahadur
Dr Farooq Abdullah with the 15 member delegation of his party workers at his Gupkar residence declared sub-jail by the government.
. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

October 6, 2019

A 15-member delegation of NC leaders led by Devinder Singh Rana from Jammu was permitted by the administration to meet Dr Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah.

PM Narendra Modi welcoming EU team in Delhi before their Kashmir visit in October 2019, image by ANI

October 29, 2019

A planeload of 27 right-wing European Union Parliamentarians were flown for an overnight visit to Srinagar. The group associated with managing the visit triggered a major controversy for the government.

Relatives of political detainees coming out of MLA hostel Srinagar - KL Image by Tahir Bhat
Relatives of political detainees coming out of MLA hostel Srinagar – KL Image by Tahir Bhat

November 17, 2019

As the winter set in, authorities shifted 34 political prisoners lodged at the Centaur Hotel to the MLA Hostel on the M A Road after the lawmakers’ hostel was declared a sub-jail.

December 27, 2019

In revisiting the holiday calendar, December 5 (birth anniversary of Sheikh Abdullah) and July 13 (martyrs day) was dropped.

December 30, 2019

Five politicians Ishfaq Jabbar, Ghulam Nabi Bhat, Bashir Mir, Zahoor Mir and Yasir Reshi were released. In subsequent days, many others were freed but retained in-home custody.

January 25, 2020

Sheri-Kashmir was omitted as the prefix from police medals. Sher-i-Kashmir is a reference to Sheikh Abdullah.

February 5, 2020

Four politicians, including two former Chief Ministers, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, were detained under PSA for six months. Days after, detention under PSA was extended to Ali Mohammad Sagar, Sartaj Madni and Naeem Akhtar. It was early February when the former RAW chief, A S Dulat flew to Srinagar and visited Dr Farooq Abdullah with the sole objective to “calm him down”.

February 14, 2020

Shah Faesal booked under PSA so was booked, Peer Mansoor.

Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari along with other part leaders waving the flag of the Jammu and Kashmir ‘Apni party’ during a press conference at his residence in Srinagar on March 8, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur.

March 8, 2020

With 26 former members of the erstwhile assembly, PDP deserter Syed Altaf Bukhari launched Jammu and Kashmir Apni Party.

March 13, 2020

Dr Farooq Abdullah set free as authorities revoke his detention under the PSA.

Five days after its launch, the Apni Party in a group photograph with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in March 2020. Photo: PMO

March 14, 2020

Prime Minister Narendra Modi meets a 24 member delegation from Jammu and Kashmir’s Apni Party and holds an interactive session with them.

NC leader and former Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah outside the gate of the Hari Niwas Palace after being set free after eight months on March 24, 2020. KL Image: Bilal Bahadur

March 24, 2020

Omar Abdullah released from Hari Niwas after 232 days.

April 17, 2020

Mehbooba Mufti shifted from a sub-jail to her official residence which was declared a sub-jail.

May 25, 2020

Omar Abdullah flew to Delhi for the first time in the first flight that was permitted to reconnect Delhi and Srinagar after Covid19 restrictions blocked airways. He said his visit had no political angle.

June 3, 2020

Shah Faesal, Sartaj Madni and Peer Mansoor released.

June 18, 2020

Ali Mohammad Sagar released after the High Court quashed his detention under the PSA. Naeem Akhtar and Hilal Ahmad Lone also set free.

July 31, 2020

Sajad Lone set free after 360 days. No new experience, he said but this time it was psychologically draining, he said.

August 10, 2020

Dr Shah Fesal who had quit IAS in January 2019 and launched Jammu and Kashmir Peoples Movement announced that he will quit politics forever.

August 22, 2020

The Gupkar Declaration of August 4, 2019, was formally converted into an alliance named PAGD with Dr Abdullah as president and Mehbooba as his Deputy. It had seven constituents. It has the erstwhile state flag as its flag.

October 13, 2020

 Mehbooba Mufti’s detention under PSA revoked.

Dr Farooq Abdullah coming out from the Enforcement Directorate office in Srinagar after day-long questioning on Monday, October 19, 2020. KL Image by Bilal Bahadur

October 19, 2020

The Enforcement Directorate grills Dr Farooq Abdullah at its Srinagar office in the cricket scam involving Rs 43.69 crore.

October 31, 2020

Omar Abdullah as PAGD leader visits Drass, Karil and received warmly. He, however, avoids Leh.

October 2020

Omar Abdullah surrendered his official accommodation on Gupkar Road. He is one of the many politicians who were asked to surrender the official accommodation. Besides, a number of politicians from NC and mostly from PDP alleged that the government has withdrawn their security that restricted their movement.

 November 4, 2020

Eight phase District Development Council (DDC) elections were announced to be held between November 28 and December 19. PAGD contested.

On November 25, Waheed Para, a contesting candidate was arrested a day ahead of polls. Of the 278 results announced on December 23, PAGD won 110, BJP 75, independents took 50, Congress 26, Apni Party 12, PDF and the National Panthers Party two each and the BSP one.

Prof Bhim Singh National Panthers Party supremo accompanied by party colleague Anita Thakur interacting with the members of the PAfGD in Jammu on Saturday, November 7.2020

November 7, 2020

PAGD flies to Jammu meets local leadership but gets a cold shoulder from Jammu parties.

November 17, 2020

Congress denied it was part of the PAGD insisting it has not approved of the alliance’s proclamations.

December 20, 2020

After being in home detention since May 10, PDP leader Naeem Akhter was arrested and held for possible breach of public order. He was released on June 20, 2021, three days before the All Party Meeting in Delhi.

January 19, 2021

Sajad Lone pulls out of the PAGD, saying there has been a breach of trust between the constituent parties.

February 6, 2021

After around 17 months, 4G was restored. It was the outcome of, partly, the campaign that PAGD members had launched for its restoration.

March 5, 2021

MP Akbar Lone’s son, Hilal Lone, a lawyer, was bailed out. He was arrested on February 16, under UAPA for hate speech.

Peoples Democratic Party President (PDP) Mehbooba Mufti arrives at the Enforcement Directorate (ED) office in connection with an alleged money laundering case, at Rajbagh in Srinagar, Thursday, March 25, 2021. KL Image by Bilal BahadurMarch 25, 2021

Mehbooba Mufti grilled by the ED at its Srinagar office for more than five hours about the expenditure she booked on Chief Minister’s secret fund.

Several youth joined Peoples Conference

March 29, 2021

PDPs Peer Mansoor, and Khurshid Aalam and NC’s Basharat Bukhari joined the Peoples Conference.

June 9, 2021

PAGD met at Mehbooba’s residence and appointed Communist leader Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami as the new spokesman.

June 20, 2021

Home Secretary extended an invitation to 14 leaders of NC, PDP, Congress, BJP, Panthers Party, CPI (M) and Peoples Conference. These included four former Chief Ministers’ and four Deputy Chief Ministers.

June 23, 2021

The Apex Body of Leh, sort of an all-party met Rajnath Singh seeking Legislature for the UT of Ladakh and protections under the Sixth Schedule for the preservation of culture, identity, and land. The delegation lacked anybody from Kargil that makes half of Ladakh demography.

A group photograph of 14 Jammu and Kashmir participants in the All Party Meeting that Prime minister Narendra Modi hosted on June 24, 2021, at his official residence. The photograph marked the beginning of the meeting.

June 24, 2021

A meeting between Jammu and Kashmir politicians and Prime Minister, Narendra Modi took place at the latter’s official residence for more than three hours. Concerns expressed but no assurance given.

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