While most parts of Kashmir valley remained shut and covered with barbed concertina wires along with the presence of security forces in vulnerable pockets, sweets were distributed and tricolor was unfurled at number of places in Jammu region to mark the first anniversary of abrogation of Article 370 and reorganisation of the erstwhile State of Jammu & Kashmir into two Union Territories on Wednesday.
Even after lifting the curfew restrictions imposed in Srinagar district, at least on a piece of paper, the majority of mainstream political leaders were prevented from stepping out of their houses to attend a meeting at the residence of sitting parliamentarian and National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah.
At the same time, second rung BJP leaders were allowed to assemble freely in different parts of Kashmir valley to celebrate the momentous occasion only in the company of each other.
These leaders unfurled tricolor and distributed sweets after chanting patriotic slogans hailing 'Mother India'. In Anantnag, a BJP leader Rumisa Rafiq also hoisted Indian tricolor at Lal Chowk in South Kashmir's Anantnag district. Her images were circulated on various social media platforms. Token celebrations were also reported from Bandipora where BJP district President was seen dancing with a handful of party workers in the office premises after a brief ceremony.
In Jammu region celebrations were also reported from different district headquarters of Kathua,Samba, Reasi, Udhampur, Rajouri,Doda and Kishtwar as well.
BJP leaders along with party workers and local residents unfurled tricolor at main city junctions, state BJP headquaretrs and distributed sweets.
BJP National Vice President Avinash Rai Khanna, J&K BJP President Ravinder Raina, along with other senior leaders offered flower garland to Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee's statue & unfurl 110 feet tricolour at Kathua on anniversary of abrogation of Article370 & 35A.
Local residents in Jammu were also seen hoisting tricolor atop their rooftops.
In Jammu, normal life went on smoothly while it remained paralysed in different parts of Kashmir valley due to strict restrictions on ground zero.
Ironically, a meeting convened by the National Conference President Dr Farooq Abdullah at his Gupkar road residence could not take place due to strict restrictions.
Police vehicles remained parked outside the residences of many leaders and they were prevented from stepping out.
Reacting to these developments on ground zero, former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah took to twitter to share his angst.
In a series of tweets he wrote, "One year later the authorities are still too afraid to allow us to meet much less carry out any normal political activity. This fear speaks volumes about the true situation on the ground in Kashmir. "This is Gupkar road today - police vehicles opposite our gates, concertina wire strung across the road at regular intervals & no vehicles allowed. My father had called a meeting of leaders of MAINSTREAM parties to deliberate on the current situation",tweeted Omar Abdullah.
In another tweet he said, "Clearly the meeting is not being allowed to go ahead. The BJP gets to announce a 15 day celebration to mark 5th Aug & a handful of us aren’t allowed to meet on my father’s lawn. So much for BJP national leaders wondering why there is no political activity".
"BJP displaying its hypocrisy. They can gather & celebrate. The rest of us can’t even meet to discuss what’s happening in J&K" Omar tweeted in response to the celebrations in the BJP office in Srinagar.
CPI (M) leader MY Tarigami also shared his emotions on the occasion. He also posted a tweet to share his anger, "Locks on gates, lock downs as celebrations and lies as defences has been the hallmark of last year. Today, political leaders were supposed to meet at Dr Farooq Abdullah's residence to discuss the political challenges the region is facing. But unfortunately, we were not allowed".
The twitter handle of PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti, operated by her daughter Iltija Mufti reacted by highlighting the double speak of the district administration. "Last night’s order withdrawing curfew was hogwash. When it comes to collective punishment,J&K admin & police prefer not leaving a paper trail & yet ensure people are caged by imposing an unofficial curfew". During the day, a handful of party workers managed to stage a protest marking the black day.
"Despite the stringent & unofficial curfew, a handful of PDP workers managed to stage a protest in Srinagar today.The number might seem insignificant but symbolises how tough it is for the people of J&K to peacefully protest", tweeted Mehbooba Mufti.