Srinagar: A haunting silence ‘greets’ people inside the empty courtyard of Congress Niwas, headquarters of J&K Pradesh Congress Committee, at Moulana Azad Road.
Locked rooms and empty chairs sum-up the mood at once-bustling political office in the heart of the city. Only people visible are the security forces and few Safai Karmacharies, who are posted to keep the office clean. None of the workers or officials has visited the Congress Niwas since August 5 when parliament revoked Article 370 and detained political leaders in Kashmir.
“Since August 5 no one has visited this office because the government has arrested all political leaders. Congress leaders, who were in Delhi, were not allowed to come to Srinagar. No political activity has taken place here for the last month. We come here on bicycles to keep the office clean,” said one of the employees on the condition of anonymity.
Few hundred meters away, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) headquarters near Sher-e-Kashmir Park resemble a ghost house. “For the last one month, none of the party workers visited this office because their president Mehbooba Mufti is in jail. The only activity that takes place here is dusting and sweeping. The sweeper comes after every third day to clean the office,” said a security force personnel.
Speaking to The Kashmir Monitor, one of the party workers preferring anonymity said that he is afraid of visiting the office. “It is extremely risky to visit the office as everyone is under the scanner. It is better to be at home in such a situation,” he said
Once most sought-after political office, National Conference (NC) headquarters have been locked for the last month. All leaders of the party included the party’s vice president Omar Abdullah is under detention for over a month now. No leader is allowed to visit the office.
“Parliament members Akbar Lone and Justice (retd) Hasnain Masoodi came here twice but were not allowed to enter the office. They just had a look at the office building from the roadside before leaving,” said a local security guard.
Similarly, the office of newly formed JK Peoples Movement (JKPM) has also been shut after the revocation of Article 370. Party’s president Shah Faesal has been under detention at SKICC after he was stopped at Delhi Airport and prevented from leaving the country.