Srinagar: On the eve of the second anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into union territories, the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Wednesday said the hoax of BJP’s “Naya Kashmir” is a joke now as people have started questioning the futility of the August 2019 move.
It appealed to the people of Jammu and Kashmir to stand united and said we shall not succumb but continue our struggle in defence of our rights using every opportunity through peaceful and legal means.”
“August 5 marks the completion of two years since the unprecedented assault on the Constitution of India was taken to nullify Article 370 of the Constitution, thereby damaging the very bond of our relationship with the Union of India. By demolishing the Constitution of Jammu & Kashmir, the government has crossed all limits of constitutionality,” PAGD spokesperson and senior CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said in a statement here.
The PAGD — an amalgam of various mainstream parties in Jammu and Kashmir, including the National Conference and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) — said it hoped that the central government would realise the futility of its decisions of August 5, 2019.
“The recent participation of J&K leaders (in a meeting) with the prime minister was a leap of faith on that hope but none of the measures required to begin rebuilding the shattered confidence of the people of J&K has been taken. J&K remains as far from Delhi and from the Dil’ (heart) of India as it has ever been. Rather the distances are further widening…,” Tarigami said.
He said downgrading the historic state of Jammu and Kashmir and dividing it into two separate union territories without the consent of the people and also ignoring the resolution adopted by the J&K legislature on March 3, 2004 to preserve the unity and the secular character of Jammu & Kashmir state has set a precedent that any state can cease to exist as a state and can be carved up into any number of fragments any time, by placing it under Governor’s Rule.
“Thereby the very existence of a state becomes a matter of central discretion, a substantial step towards a unitary state, the statement said.
“The hoax of BJP’s Naya Kashmir is a joke now. The people have started questioning those in authority as to what they have achieved by destroying Jammu and Kashmir,” the PAGD leader said.
Referring to the abrogation of Article 35-A that made the status of permanent residents redundant, the statement said the protection of jobs and land rights was removed arbitrarily which deepened the alienation and sense of insecurity in all the regions.
“The economy of J&K has virtually collapsed as tourism, trade, agriculture, horticulture and handicraft sectors were badly hit. Employment opportunities are shrinking. Is corruption any less and governance any better? The fact remains that not a single claim stands the test of the scrutiny, he said.
He said the PAGD earnestly appeals to all sections of the people in each region and community to remain united and not to fall prey to the false and slanderous campaigns and divisive attempts aiming at dividing and disarming our people.
We are sure that at this time of serious crises we shall not succumb but continue our struggle in defence of our rights using every opportunity through peaceful and legal means, Tarigami said.
The PAGD said a process of throttling of democracy and democratic rights was initiated.
The clampdown and continuous restrictions on the movement and association of the people and gagging the media has resulted in forced silence. Over the last two years it has become amply clear why the government of India was so insistent on taking such drastic unlawful measures. We have seen that people of J&k are being ripped apart into smaller units, ripped off their jobs and rights over the natural resources that are theirs, Tarigami said.
The statement said the unconscionable suppression of civil and democratic rights continues unabated. Indiscriminate arrests and harassment of all sections of our people, including government employees, on different pretexts continues and issuing dictates like the recent one not to provide clearance for passport and government services to anyone involved in law and order and stone pelting cases’ is one more addition.
“Adverse police report cannot be a substitute for being found guilty’ in a court of law. This amounts to violation of the most sacred principles of the justice system, he said.
A Day Of Betrayals, Constitutional Fraud: PDP
Terming August 5 as a black day in the constitutional and democratic history of the country, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Wednesday said that the “draconian steps” taken on the day in 2019 have not only “betrayed” the trust of the people but also complicated the issue of J&K further & taken the political process back by decades.
In a statement issued here, PDP Chief Mehbooba Mufti said that August 5 has become a reminder of the subversion of the democratic and constitutional system of the country & how the trust of the people of J&K and all the democrats of the country was allegedly betrayed.
“It is a day when the country was lied to & the highest institutions were misused. The day saw solemn promises being broken and the trust of millions of people being betrayed. On this day, the spirit of constitutionalism and democratic ethos were undermined as the people of J&K were robbed of their identity and rights,” Mehbooba said.
“All that happened on August 5, 2019 further complicated the issue of J&K and made the road to resolution of the problem more tedious and painful as people in general feel more alienated today. In order to restore peace with dignity in J&K, there is no alternative to dialogue and reconciliation to address internal as well as the external dimensions of the issue of Jammu & Kashmir,” she said.
“Jammu & Kashmir has to become a bridge of friendship rather than a bone of contention between India and Pakistan & PDP will continue to strive to see this happen,” she added.
Reiterating that the party would continue to struggle and strive for the restoration rights and identity of the people of J&K, Mehbooba said that no amount of coercion would dissuade the party from advocating its core agenda of peace with dignity through dialogue & reconciliation.
“Today the party reiterates that August 5 is and will continue to be a Black Day as a reminder of the constitutional fraud perpetrated on the people of J&K and that of how this fraud was imposed with the might of incarcerations and under the dark shadow of suspension of civil liberties. A day that is now etched in history and collective memory of us all as a proverbial daylight robbery on the rights and liberties of the people of Jammu & Kashmir when promises made to the people of J&K enshrined in the constitution of India were bulldozed to realize the agenda of one party,” she said.
“Two years later, none of the stated goals of the government, that were used to camouflage the betrayal – of bringing Kashmir closer to India, ending militancy, bringing development to the state – have been achieved. Instead, Kashmiris have lost faith (if any left) in the Indian political leadership & system and are even asking questions of the judiciary. The Supreme Court has still not found time to take up the petitions challenging the legal and constitutional validity of the J&K Reorganization Act,” she added.
‘A Dark Day Of Disempowerment’: PC
The People’s Conference on Wednesday said August 5 will perpetually be remembered as a dark day and a day of disempowerment in the history of the erstwhile state.
August 5th is seen as a day of disempowerment, a reminder of the humiliation that the people of Jammu and Kashmir were subjected to,” party spokesperson Adnan Ashraf Mir said in a statement here.
He said the decisions taken on August 5, 2019 are spiteful and contrary to the ideals and values of a democracy and the federal character of the Indian State.
These decisions contravene the very ideas of justice and dignity that form the core of the political system and constitutional philosophy of the Republic of India,” Mir said.
The party led by Sajjad Lone stated that the decisions of August 5, 2019 have dealt a severe blow to the collective sentiment of the people who championed the cause of Indian democracy, and those who upheld the electoral system through participation got the worst treatment despite their sacrifice for democracy in J-K.
By revoking Article 370 of the constitution and downgrading J-K into a Union territory, the government of the day has inflicted irreversible humiliation to the advocates of mainstream J-K and pushed them against the wall,” Mir alleged.
‘Collaborators’: Bukhari Blames J&K Parties
Apni Party President Syed Muhammad Altaf Bukhari on Wednesday said that not only the BJP but the erstwhile state’s political parties have played a collaborators’ role in eroding the Articles 370 & 35-A from time to time for their lust of power.
In a statement issued here, Bukhari said that the abrogation of Articles 370 & 35-A did not only snatch the special status of Jammu and Kashmir but also incremented the trust deficit and sense of alienation among the people to an exponential level. The special status, he said, was enshrined within Indian Constitution while the unprecedented way it was revoked, did profoundly hurt the sentiments of the people of who continue to feel politically disempowered.
“There exists no substitute to the special status to J&K. But we strongly hope and believe that the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India which is an abode of justice will reciprocate to the people’s collective demand and deliver justice. God forbid, even if the Apex Court’s verdict disregards peoples’ aspirations, Apni Party will have no choice but to chalk out other peaceful means to pursue this goal with New Delhi,” Bukhari said, as per a party spokesperson.
Bukhari said that his party will put in constant efforts to get an early hearing in the Supreme Court petition on the subject.
“We believe that the solution to the socio-economic and political problems faced by the people in J&K lies with New Delhi so it will be unwise to disengage or dissociate ourselves from pursuing the redressal,” he said.
The Apni Party President further said that by now it must have been explicit to everyone in New Delhi that Article 370 was not an impediment in the way of development of Jammu and Kashmir.
“Unfortunately, we have not witnessed any major development taking place in J&K since August 5, 2019 as was projected by the advocates of abrogation of Article 370. Rather, ways of cultural imperialism have been facilitated by the bureaucratic regimes who seem hell-bent to convert our heritage sites into commercial entities like Mubarak Mandi in Jammu,” he added.
Bukhari said that though there was a need to do away with some gender issues in Article 35-A but the way this law was completely annulled was totally unjustified and arbitrary in nature.
Blaming traditional political parties for their policies of deceit and intrigue, Bukhari said that it is not the BJP alone but other political parties who have been pivotal in doing away with the special status of J&K.
“History bears witness to the facts that how J&K’s political parties have played a collaborators’ role in eroding the Articles 370 & 35-A from time to time for their lust of power,” he alleged.
Bukhari said that people of J&K do remember how Kashmir based MPs were given an ample opportunity on August 05, 2019 to speak over the necessity of sustaining the special status of J&K but they miserably failed to utter even a single word about it.
“Now today they are shedding crocodile tears and sermonizing on the subject. It’s a shame for them. They should rather confess and apologize to the people for their criminal silence,” he said.
Furthermore, Bukhari beseeched the central government for an early restoration of statehood to J&K so that the people enjoy transparent and accountable governance.
He said that people of J&K do not doubt the Prime Minister or Home Minister’s intentions vis-à-vis J&K but it is the vested interests of bureaucratic set-up that is coming in the way of realizing the vision and developmental plans of the government of India.
“Time has proven that the bureaucratic setup can never be a plausible substitute to the elected form of government. It is an elected government that can feel the pulse and take measures to resolve the public grievances in a time bound manner,” he added.
Cong Reiterates Statehood Demand
Reiterating its demand for restoration of statehood on the eve of the second anniversary of Article 370’s abrogation, the Jammu and Kashmir Congress unit on Wednesday questioned the BJP government on the achievements it made towards the eradication of militancy, creation of jobs and rehabilitation of Kashmiri Pandits in the valley.
“On August 5, 2019, Jammu and Kashmir was deprived of its identity as a state and stripped of all other rights, especially rights to land and jobs. So it remains a day of struggle to achieve our lost identity, status and other genuine rights so that our younger generations can avail and enjoy those rights which have been snatched from them,” J&K Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said in a statement here.
He said the demand for restoration of statehood with the protection of genuine rights to land and jobs remained high on the Congress’s agenda along with that of holding early assembly elections to provide an elected government in Jammu and Kashmir.
On the eve of the second anniversary of “disbanding and downgrading of the state and abrogation of its special status”, Sharma asked the BJP whether militancy had been eliminated from Jammu and Kashmir.
“There were around 70 active militants in 2014, while the number is over 200 today, despite the elimination of hundreds of terrorists since then,” the Congress leader said.
“What is the progress on bringing the people (of Jammu and Kashmir) closer to Delhi as stated by the PM? If there is no unrest, why is there no restoration of statehood and early elections,” he asked.
Be Part of Quality Journalism
Quality journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce and despite all the hardships we still do it. Our reporters and editors are working overtime in Kashmir and beyond to cover what you care about, break big stories, and expose injustices that can change lives. Today more people are reading Kashmir Observer than ever, but only a handful are paying while advertising revenues are falling fast.