SRINAGAR, July 4 (1984): Police and troops flooded through the capital of Kashmir to put down scattered violence, and businesses shut down for 24 hours in protest against the dismissal of Chief Minister Farouq Abdullah’s state government.
About 7,000 followers of Mr. Abdullah, many of them wearing black armbands and chanting slogans, marched to the chief ministry office.
At a rally there, Mr. Abdullah called for strikes to be held throughout Jammu and Kashmir state, a sensitive region near the Pakistan border.
Six truckloads of heavily armed troops watched the demonstration. Police said troops also set up checkpoints on the outskirts of the capital to keep out Abdullah supporters coming in from outlying towns and villages.
Authorities imposed a ban on public gatherings of more than four people throughout this Himalayan city. In the old part of town, where Mr. Abdullah enjoys considerable support, police and troops sealed off the area and broadcast warnings to stay indoors.
”The situation remains tense but normal,” said the duty officer at the city police control room. Earlier, about 400 people tried to block streets but were dispersed without casualties.
Another group of demonstrators stoned the house of Hissan Bandey, one of 12 legislators who defected from Mr. Abdullah’s governing National Conference party on Monday. The defections left Mr. Abdullah’s party with only 34 seats in the 76-member state assembly. The chief minister was immediately dismissed by Governor Jag Mohan, a loyal appointee of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.
He was replaced by his estranged brother-in-law and long-time political rival, Ghulam Shah. All 12 defectors pledged support for Mr. Shah’s Government.
Mrs. Gandhi had accused Mr. Abdullah of allowing Moslem and Sikh secessionists to operate in Kashmir and of terrorizing workers in her Congress (India) Party.
Opposition parties were quick to label the removal of Mr. Abdullah as unconstitutional and immoral.
In an interview at his party headquarters in Srinagar, Mr. Abdullah branded his dismissal ”totally unconstitutional and undemocratic. Unless they reverse their decision, we will not give up the struggle.”
The 48-year-old, British-educated Mr. Abdullah said the governor should have either dissolved the assembly or allowed an election to test his support.”If they had any guts they would have called the assembly. If the people had voted us out we would have given them power gladly.”
Mr. Abdullah has called on his supporters to begin a campaign of widespread civil disobedience beginning July 13.
He denied he had backed Sikh and Moslem extremists in the state.”There is no truth in any of this. I have no links with Pakistan or anti-national elements.”
The Gandhi Government has accused Pakistan of training and equipping Sikh terrorists intent on establishing an independent Sikh nation in the nearby state of Punjab. India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir, two-thirds of which is controlled by India and the rest by Pakistan.
In Islamabad, the president of Pakistani Kashmir described the dismissal as ”a mockery of democracy.” But the official, Abdul Rehman, said in a statement that the ouster was not surprising.
”The Indian Government has been on the lookout for an early opportunity to retaliate against the defeat suffered (by Mrs. Gandhi’s followers) in last year’s elections,” he said.