September 22, 2019

Lift the Clampdown in Kashmir

From Our Correspondent

NOT a single bullet fired in Kashmir valley! isn’t it good for the people, asked a journalist in a press conference held in CPI(M) headquarters, addressed by Sitaram Yechury and Mohd Yousuf Tarigami, leader of the Party and four-time MLA from Kashmir on September 17. Prompt was the reply of Tarigami saying that no bullets are fired even in jails. Does that mean jails are better than free spaces? He said Kashmir is turned into a military jail where free mobility and liberty of the humans is the biggest casualty.

Sitaram, while initiating the conference said, Tarigami is the first leader of the Kashmir valley to come out of the region and speak to the people openly, but this has happened because of the intervention of the Supreme Court as the government never wanted him to be out of his detention. He thanked the SC and the advocates who filed the habeas corpus writ petition in the court which eventually led to the release of Tarigami from house detention.

Sitaram, while speaking on the ground situation in Kashmir said, it does not appear what the government claims to be-normal. “Whatever I could gather during my visit which was fully controlled as I was not allowed to move out in the city, I can tell you that the people are in real trouble and now there is a livelihood crisis”, he said. Since last 40 days the wage earners who are in a majority in the state are unable to work, there is breakdown of communication, no public transport a lot of disruption by the government has taken place.

Sitaram stated that the consequences of the abrogation of article 370 are grave and the manner in which it was done is highly undemocratic and the Party has filed a writ petition in the name of Tarigami in the Supreme Court.

Mohd Yousuf Tarigami in his emotional but assertive address said that the people in the valley and he himself, were, and still are in a state of shock, to see the desperation of the government in abrogating article 370 of the Indian constitution in a single go. He said this article was incorporated through a long-protracted struggle since 1947 and the people of Kashmir were not forced to join the Indian Union, rather they decided it with their free will. There was a commonality among the people of Kashmir and rest of India and it was; the people in the valley fought against the autocracy and the people in India fought against the British rule. These bonds of struggle which led to the unity have been assaulted by the present regime.

He said listen to the people of Kashmir; what do they want. They want to walk together with the people of rest of India and it is not asking for heavens but equality of status. Those who stood with India are targeted; nobody can imagine that the Abdullah’s (both Farooq and Omar) who have consistently been fighting against the separatists would be arrested.

Speaking on the clampdown he said, it is a strange phenomenon, the government is on strike. No schools are functioning, no internet, no communication and at the end of the day the government claims to have brought normalcy in the valley. Imagine this could be the state of affairs just for seven days in Delhi or any other part of the country. The people would have rebel. The humongous loss that it has brought to the business is unimaginable. The harvest of paddy, apples and other fruits is badly affected. Half of the apple produce has already perished.

He said, the government brings in a narrative that those who are opposing the abrogation of article 370 are anti-nationals, is utterly ridiculous. Tarigami said, his family members were killed by separatists, the CPI(M) cadres were killed by them, he himself survived three attempts on his life; so, is he a separatist or separate from the separatists? Taking a jibe at the government he said, people from across the border are making fun of us, they are saying what we (Pakistan) could not do, the Indian government has done, i.e., completely alienating the people of Kashmir from India.

While replying to a question Sitaram said that the CPI(M)’s stance is completely non-negotiable on two issues; firstly, it is a firm fighter against terrorism and secondly it will always stand with the people whose liberty is under attack.