Today: Jun 19, 2024

In Kulgam stronghold, CPI(M) veteran Tarigami says people voting to register their protest

2 mins read

Tarigam: In the midst of intense political activities in the Kashmir Valley and despite the presence of Jamaat-e-Islami strongholds in the area, Kulgam stands firm as a bastion of the hammer, sickle and star of the CPI(M).

Mohammed Yusuf Tarigami, the CPI(M) state secretary and a four-time Kulgam MLA, actively campaigned for Mian Altaf Ahmad– the candidate for the party’s People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) partner the National Conference — through vibrant roadshows.

Altaf is contesting the Lok Sabha elections from the Anantnag-Rajouri constituency, where elections are being held on Saturday.

At 75, Tarigami — who has kept the CPI(M) flag flying high in the region even through challenging times — expressed his determination as he cast his ballot in the Tarigam village of south Kashmir’s Kulgam.

“Today, we got an opportunity and people of Kashmir used it in the best way to register their protest against what happened in August 2019,” he said after exercising his franchise at a polling station in his ancestral Tarigam village.

“Voting is our constitutional right and we have been doing it all along … People are angry over being deprived of the rights given to them by the Constitution and are thronging the polling stations to register their protest through ballots,” Tarigami said.

In August 2019, the Centre abrogated Article 370 that provided special status to Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcated the erstwhile state into two Union Territories.

He said the people were promised a dignified life and employment opportunities but those remained unfulfilled.

“This is the only option left with the people to give vent to their anger. This is always the best option and I, too, registered my protest through my ballot,” he said.

The senior CPI(M) leader said there is no point for celebrations.

“What will they (people) celebrate? Downgrading and dividing their state, not holding assembly elections and (living under) proxy rule…? They are voting to register their protest,” he said.

Reflecting on his past struggles, Tarigami shared insights into his political journey and his name change.

“My name is Mohammed Yusuf Rather. It was changed in the late 1970s as I was among the first to be booked under the Public Safety Act. After that, the name of my village got stuck to my name,” he said with a smile.

The village of Tarigam resonates with political fervour as the elections are celebrated as a festival, with echoes of Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s “Hum Mehnatkash Is Duniya Ke” from the film “Mazdoor” filling the air.

Despite obstacles, Tarigami rallied support for Altaf, emphasising the importance of unity within the PAGD.

He also praised Altaf’s secular values and highlighted the popular support for the CPI(M) in the region.

Accompanied by Mohammad Abass Rather, the party’s district secretary, Tarigami navigates through the village, receiving warm greetings from the locals.

His leadership and dedication to the marginalised communities have solidified the standing of the CPI(M) in Kulgam.

Kulgam’s locals recognise Tarigami’s unwavering commitment to their development and wellbeing, reflected in their continuous support through the years. Even during challenging times, Tarigami’s leadership has been instrumental in guiding the region towards progress.

In the face of political changes following the abrogation of Article 370 and Article 35A, Tarigami emerged as a vocal opponent, demonstrating his steadfast advocacy for the people of Jammu and Kashmir.

As the political landscape continues to evolve, Tarigami’s presence in Kulgam serves as a beacon of resilience and principled leadership, earning respect across party lines for his unwavering dedication to the community.