Updated: August 5, 2021 3:43:10 am
JAMMU AND Kashmir remains “as far from Delhi and dil [heart] of India as it has ever been”, the Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) said in a statement on Wednesday, on the eve of the second anniversary of the abrogation of Article 370 and bifurcation of the state into union territories.
It alleged that there is a forced silence in J&K. “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 a forced silence,” said Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, the spokesperson for PAGD, an alliance forged last year to seek restoration of J&K’s special status.
He said the recent all-party meet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi had triggered hopes in J&K but nothing concrete was done to restore the confidence of the people. “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.
“It was hoped that the Government of India would realise the futility of its decisions viz a viz August 5, 2019. The recent participation of J&K leaders [in the meeting] with the PM 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,” he said.
Calling the abrogation of special status as an unprecedented constitutional assault, the PAGD said what was done with J&K could be replicated in other states as well. “Downgrading the historic state of J&K and dividing it into two separate union territories… 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 Governors Rule,” its statement said.
Raising concerns over jobs and land rights of the people of J&K, the PAGD termed the slogan of ‘Naya Kashmir’ a joke.
“The abrogation of Article 35 A made the status of permanent residents redundant. Protection of jobs and land rights were 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… The fact remains that not a single claim stands the test of scrutiny,” Tarigami said. “The hoax of BJP’s Naya Kashmir is a joke now.”
The PAGD also asked the people to remain united to thwart attempts of divisive forces and reiterated that the struggle for rights of the people would continue. “We earnestly appeal to all sections of our people… to remain united and not to fall prey to the false and slanderous campaigns and divisive attempts aiming at dividing and disarming our people,” said Tarigami. “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.”