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PAGD reiterates demand for restoration of J&K’s special status

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Revocation has created deep uncertainty in J&K

Srinagar: The People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on Tuesday demanded the restoration of the pre-August 05, 2019 constitutional position of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, saying it would continue the fight to seek the rights guaranteed by the Constitution.

The alliance of the six mainstream political parties, which seek the restoration of the special status of the erstwhile state, held a meeting at its chairman and National Conference president Farooq Abdullah’s residence at Gupkar here.

The meeting was also attended by the middle- and lower-rung leaders of the constituent parties of the alliance.

Speaking to reporters after the meeting, PAGD spokesperson and CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said seeking the restoration of the special status, which was revoked by the Centre on August 05, 2019, is the constitutional right of the people of the erstwhile state.

“We are not seeking anything other than the restoration of the special constitutional position that Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh had till August 04, 2019. It is our constitutional right,” he said.

Tarigami, who was flanked by other leaders of the alliance, including Abdullah and PDP president Mehbooba Mufti, said a few people were interpreting their demands some other way and calling them “anti-national activities”.

“They try to harass the leaders associated with the alliance and continue with slanderous campaigns. Perhaps, it has not happened before that the voice of the people was being stopped this way. It is impossible to keep stopping the voice of the people,” he said.

The alliance spokesperson said the silence in Jammu and Kashmir has been considered as normalcy.

“Even today, they think Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh should be silent like a graveyard, and it is not acceptable to the present government and leadership that anyone should raise his voice or keep his head high,” he claimed.

“The present government has vowed to humiliate us, they think of our humiliation as their pride, which is not acceptable to us,” the CPI(M) leader alleged.

Tarigami said the alliance wants to send a message to the country and its people that the PAGD is committed to seek the rights which were guaranteed by the Constitution.

The PAGD spokesperson said the alliance adopted a unanimous resolution at its Tuesday meeting, reiterating that the constitutional position of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh which the erstwhile state enjoyed on August 04, 2019.

“Unconstitutional decisions of August 05, 2019, taken in the Parliament to nullify Articles 370 and 35-A of the Constitution of India and the damaging legislation which dismembered the historic state and created two Union Territories – Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh – has created a big political void and deep uncertainty in the erstwhile state,” the resolution said.

“It is most unfortunate that the judicial challenges against this abrogation as a violation of the Constitution continue to remain pending before the Supreme Court even after two years,” it said.

Members of the PAGD at the meeting said the statehood of Jammu and Kashmir as it existed prior to August 5, 2019, must be restored.

“All political prisoners must be released immediately. Indiscriminate use of draconian laws must be put to an end,” the alliance said in the resolution.

The resolution claimed that “nothing substantial” has emerged after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Dilli ki Doori and Dil ki Doori’ slogan during his meeting with J&K leaders in New Delhi two months back.

“No confidence-building measures have been taken to provide some relief to the distressed people of the region,” the resolution said.

Tarigami said the meeting also resolved that the “suppression” of civil liberties and democratic rights continues “unabated”.

“Attack on democratic rights under the draconian laws like UAPA/PSA continues as hundreds of people remain under detention without even charges being framed. New orders are being passed like non-clearance for passports and government services to anyone involved in ‘law and order’ or ‘stone pelting cases’,” the resolution said.

“This negates the principle of natural justice by equating a police report with being guilty and being denied all these services. Jurisprudence underlines that everyone is innocent till proven guilty,” it said.

By making the status of permanent residents of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir redundant, the protection of jobs and land rights were “snatched arbitrarily which deepened the sense of insecurity in the regions and communities”, it said.

Referring to the economy in J&K, the PAGD resolution said it is getting from bad to worse day-by-day as the tall promises of development, investment and job creation of the government “have fallen flat”.

“Instead of creating new employment opportunities, daily-wagers, casual labourers, scheme workers and other contractual employees are either not getting wages regularly or are being altogether denied their wages. Agriculture and horticulture, tourism, handicrafts, transport and other sectors are in deep crisis,” the resolution said.

It said the successive executive orders post August 2019 like domicile laws, curbs on media, “intimidation” of government employees, “discriminatory” rules on employment are some of the “authoritarian diktats” that have been imposed on the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

“Termination of some employees without giving them a chance to be heard, has created a fear psychosis among the employees in general. Local officers are being side-lined and the abolition of state cadre is one more step towards disempowerment of the people,” the resolution said.

The meeting resolved that “unabated” killings of people, including political activists, in Kashmir “belie the government’s peace and normalcy claims”.

This meeting unequivocally condemns the killings of unarmed persons, including political activists, the resolution said.

The alliance said it is absolutely imperative that people in every region and community in Jammu and Kashmir remain united and not fall prey to false campaigns and attempts aimed at dividing and disempowering them further.

“Not only in Kashmir, there is huge dissatisfaction over the impact of the undemocratic course adopted by the Centre and the local administration in Jammu and Ladakh regions as well. People in all regions of the erstwhile state have started questioning the BJP’s claim of ‘Naya Kashmir’,” the PAGD said.

“People want to know what they have achieved by destroying perspective of Naya Kashmir which was framed through hard and protracted struggle by the people against the autocratic regime and feudal lords,” it said.

The alliance firmly resolved to uphold the glorious traditions of unity, amity and brotherhood of the people of different regions and communities, the resolution said.

“We assure our people that we shall remain on their side under all circumstances for their better future and dignified life,” the meeting resolved.

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