Disallowing dissent undemocratic and dangerous: Sajad Lone

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SRINAGAR:  Peoples Conference Chairman Sajad Lone has expressed alarm and displeasure at the clampdown of separatist activists and leaders in Kashmir.

“The space for dissent and democratic agitation has been politically barricaded in a blanket siege where imposing curfews has become the impulsive operational response of an unpopular government that is clueless about the sentiments of its people”, he said in a press statement issued today.

Reacting strongly to the DGP’s statement about invoking the undemocratic and draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) against separatist leaders, Sajad Lone said it was only ruefully apt that a Police Chief of a Police State issues such an undemocratic statement threatening dissent with persecution.

Sajad Lone stated that suffocating dissent and anger by making peaceful protests impossible sadly gave space and relevance to other violent alternatives which could take Kashmir back to the din of armed turmoil and violence. “The proponents of the operational management of the sentiment in Kashmir – both in New Delhi and in Kashmir – should learn from past experiences and understand the futility of such measures – be it endless curfews or mass preventive arrests. The very aspect of preventive arrests in a place like Kashmir reeks of a dictotorial and oppressive mindset”, he added.

Condemning the death of the young boy in Iddgah and the mass spree of arrests around the Valley, Sajad Lone said that it seemed the policy makers and political entities were yet again invested in pushing the common man against the wall and leaving him with no option but to resort to and identify with more violent means – a potential eventuality which would be extremely detrimental and unfortunate.

Kashmir, Sajad Lone added needed a serious and result oriented engagement that took into due consideration the alienation and isolation in the Valley. “Arrests and Curfews or for that matter the threat of slapping PSAs would lead to further chaos and resentment on the streets. The anger on the street is not only palpable but also volatile and turning a blind eye towards this resentment and hurt would further widen the chasm between possible reconciliation and justice”.

“Political activists and leaders across the divide have a right to express their views and put them in the public domain. An unofficial revocation of democratic rights and liberties by ruling J&K as a Police State of rogue residents is a tried, tested and failed policy. The people deserve if not a right to be heard but at least a right to protest”, Lone said.

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