December 15, 2019

Na Kalam, Anken aur Zubaan Azaad: Perilous Developments in the Country

NEITHER the press, the eyes nor the speech are free in Kashmir (all are under surveillance), remarked Mohd Yousuf Tarigami while speaking in a press conference along with Sitaram Yechury at Delhi on December 8. Tarigami said this will not sustain and shall be perilous to the establishment.

Sitaram Yechury paid condolences at the death of 43 workers in a fire in Delhi at the beginning of the press conference.  Yechury demanded an inquiry into the incident and adequate compensation to the victims. He castigated at the central government for brining in a CAB (Citizenship Amendment Bill) based on the premise of religious background. He said the CPI(M) will move two amendments to the bill. These amendments pertain to deleting the religious basis for immigration and to include all the neighbouring countries in the bill.

Speaking on Kashmir issue, Yechury said that the CPI(M) and Tarigami are a party to the petition challenging the abrogation of the provisions of Article 370 in the Supreme Court. Speaking on the continued detention of Tarigami he said de jure he is free but de facto he is under house arrest. The moment Tarigami goes back to Srinagar he is kept under detention. Though the state government has filed an affidavit in the SC that he is not under detention, but the reality is that nobody is allowed to meet him once he is in Kashmir. Two delegations that went to Kashmir; one led by Yashwant Sinha, former finance minister and another that of the kisans, were not allowed to meet Tarigami, though they had sought a permission from the district administration to meet him.

Yechury said more than 120 days have passed by since the internet is not functioning in Jammu and Kashmir. He said, the colleges are opened but nobody attended. More than Rs 10,000 crore is the loss to the apple crop. Most of the sales of the traders and tourists bookings are through the internet, but all have collapsed owing to withdrawal of internet services. Our demand is to restore normalcy, which the government claims to be prevalent in all spheres, though the reality is otherwise.

Tarigami while speaking about the situation in Kashmir said that at the outset he is shocked to know that a bill (CAB) is tabled in the parliament that will decide the citizenship in India. He said according to the bill it will be on the basis of religion. Tarigami termed it ultra vires to the basic ethos and spirit of the constitution. He said the CAB is substantiating two nation theory propounded by the RSS and the Sangh and Mohd Ali Jinnah. He said Jammu and Kashmir never opted for a theocratic State-Pakistan, rather joined with a Secular India. The passing of the CAB will be the saddest day in the history of modern India, he remarked.

Some similarities are emerging in the political scene of the sub continent. India should draw lessons from a nation developed on the basis of religion. We should not follow that path. Speaking about the history of Kashmir’s accession to India, he said, the basis was equality to all, irrespective of their religion, colour, race etc. He said we should ensure India, which is livable for all of us.

Speaking on the abrogation of Article 370 he said the state of J & K was divided arbitrarily. “We have certain problems and even grievances with each other but we were together,” he remarked. He asked the people, especially the civil society and other groups to not to overlook the problems and miseries of the Kashmiri people. Ridiculing the normalcy narrative, he said, is silence the norm of normalcy? Can the same normalcy be used for other parts of the country? If that is normalcy can the government suggest to shut down the internet and impose section 144 on the people in other part of India? Can it serve the purpose?

Tarigami asked where the Constitution of India is. The BJP says that it has integrated Kashmir to India then what about implementing the provision of the Indian Constitution?  Where are the fundamental rights of the people of the Kashmir under the same Constitution? Why these rights are not implemented?  Internet is not just a mode of communication but a part of the fundamental rights as pointed out by Kerala high court. E-commerce is finished. Jammu and Kashmir students are unable to fill their NEET forms.

He said the BJP has not even spared the traders of Jammu who were considered to be closer to their heart. There is a complete shut down in Jammu because of the fall in business owing to blockade by the government. In the guise of terrorism they(government) wants to terrorise the people so that the veneer of their crime is not lifted by the people.

The whole of society cannot be punished on the pretext of combating terrorism. The government boasts of tourism explosion in Kashmir, but when did they(tourists) come to Kashmir? Nobody knows, he remarked. In fact the tourists who were thronging the state before August 5 were sent back by the government. Look at the condition of the newspapers being published in the state. Just one centre operates from where the papers are published. He vehemently stated these attacks on the people have further alienated them from the establishment.