Govt Ended Up Making India Like Kashmir: Sinha

Former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha in Srinagar. File KO Photo: Abid Bhat

NEW DELHI – The government had claimed of making Kashmir like the rest of India but has ended up doing otherwise, former Union Minister Yashwant Sinha said on Monday, as he slammed the Centre over what he called was its policy of “suppression”.

Sinha, who had quit the BJP after being sidelined in the party he served for more than two decades, made the remarks while addressing the anti-citizenship law protestors outside Jamia Milla Islamia here.

He also said the the attack on JNU students and teachers on Sunday had left no difference in “government goons and government police”, accusing police of “helping” the anti-social elements and not the innocent.

Sinha said he was part of a five-member group which had visited Kashmir amid restrictions and shutdowns there around four years ago and after talking to locals and stakeholders drafted a report for the central government with a proposal for dialogue to resolve the situation.

“Here a top level official told me that I was suggesting talks which is not the government’s policy. We have a doctrine of state — a method and ideology of running the government — which was that anybody opposing us would be suppressed. That is the policy being followed and will be followed in Kashmir,” the 82-year-old leader said.

He said he was disappointed by the government’s approach then and last year also tried to go to Kashmir but was once “sent back” and on another occasion “confined to a hotel room”.

“Recently when they abrogated Articles 370 and 35A to remove special status of Jammu and Kashmir and divided it into two union territories it was that same doctrine of state at work — suppression of dissent,” he claimed.

Sinha said, “Those in the government had claimed that we will make Kashmir like the rest of India. Today, after five months, Kashmir has not become like any other part of India but the rest of India has become like Kashmir.”

He said if one were to visit Shopian, Baramulla or Pulwama in Kashmir, he would witness the heavy presence of security forces and the situation was now similar in Delhi where police personnel are deployed in large numbers near colleges.

“Wherever you look around, it’s a cycle of suppression. Earlier they would use police to suppress voices but now they are also using goons to this effect. Whatever happened in JNU yesterday, shows this very tie-up … (Sarkari police aur sarkari gundon ka jo farq tha wo sab khatam ho gaya) The difference between government police and government goons is no longer there,” Sinha said.

“And the police here helps the goons and not the innocent people. It’s a strange situation across the country,” he added.

Thousands of people, including women and children, are on a protest outside Jamia Millia Islamia and nearby Shaheen Bagh for over 20 days to oppose the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizen (NRC).

Besides Delhi, protests have been witnessed across the country over the contentious law and have at several places led to clashes including Uttar Pradesh, where more than 20 people have died.

According to the amended law, members of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi and Christian communities, who have come from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan till December 31, 2014 and facing religious persecution there, will not be treated as illegal immigrants but given Indian citizenship. The law excludes Muslims.

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