J&K: Valley parties hope of favourable verdict on Article 370; security agencies on alert

A five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice of India D.Y. Chandrachud is set to deliver the verdict on Monday on the Centre's 2019 decision to suspend Jammu and Kashmir's special status

The Gupkar alliance leaders (Photo: NH File Photo)
The Gupkar alliance leaders (Photo: NH File Photo)

NH Digital

With the Supreme Court to pronounce its verdict on Monday on the constitutional validity of the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370, several parties in Jammu and Kashmir expressed hope that the provision will be restored, while authorities have made "adequate" security arrangements.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah said his party will not disturb peace in Jammu and Kashmir even in case of an adverse verdict from the Supreme Court on the petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and will continue its fight in accordance with the law.

People's Democratic Party (PDP) president and former chief minister Mehbooba Mufti said the court's verdict should be clear that the decision taken by the BJP-led central government was "illegal".

The NC and PDP are part of the People's Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD), also called the Gupkar Alliance, which was formed by parties in J-K to fight for the restoration of Article 370.

Meanwhile, authorities said they have made adequate security arrangements to ensure that peace is not disturbed.

"We are duty-bound to ensure that peace prevails in the Valley under all circumstances," Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Zone V K Birdi told PTI.

While the IGP refused to divulge specifics of the security set-up for Monday, he said "adequate arrangements" have been put in place.

"We are taking all precautions and will ensure that peace is not disturbed in Kashmir," Birdi, who held security review meetings in most of the 10 valley districts over the last two weeks, said.

Asked if orders invoking section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on the misuse of social media were related to the Supreme Court's expected judgment, he said there have been several incidents of some elements trying to provoke people with their posts.

"Action has been taken against such elements in the past and action will be taken in the future as well," he added.

Authorities in Srinagar have issued guidelines for social media users under CrPC section 144 to curb the spread of any content that is communally sensitive or promotes terrorism and secessionism.

"The guidelines aim to provide clarity on actions citizens should take when encountering content related to terrorism, secessionism, threats, intimidation or communally-sensitive material on social media platforms," the circular, issued by police in several districts, read.

A five-judge bench of the apex court reserved its verdict on the petitions on September 5 after conducting daily hearings on the matter from August 2.

According to the cause list for December 11 (Monday), uploaded on the apex court's website, a five-judge Constitution bench headed by Chief Justice D.Y. Chandrachud would deliver the verdict.

The other members of the bench are Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul, Sanjiv Khanna, B R Gavai and Surya Kant.

The first petition challenging the presidential order scrapping Article 370 was filed by advocate M L Sharma, who was later joined by another lawyer from Jammu and Kashmir, Shakir Shabir.

National Conference filed a petition on August 10. The petition was filed by Mohammad Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi, both Lok Sabha members of the NC.

There are other petitions challenging the Centre's decision to abrogate Article 370, including a plea filed by a group of former defence officers and bureaucrats.

Omar Abdullah on Sunday said his party will continue its fight for the restoration of the rights of people through peaceful means as laid down in the Constitution.

Abdullah claimed that police had been summoning National Conference leaders to police stations since Saturday night and "intimidating" them.

"The Supreme Court has not passed a verdict yet. How do you know what is the verdict? Maybe it is in our favour! Then what is the need to call my party colleagues to police stations...

"Allah willing, if the verdict goes against them (BJP), what will you do if they start writing against it on Facebook?" he asked.

Mehbooba Mufti said it is the apex court's responsibility to ensure that it does not push the Bharatiya Janata Party's (BJP) agenda, but keeps the integrity of the country and its Constitution intact.

(With inputs from PTI)

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