February 16, 2020

‘Let Kashmir be declared an open jail…’: Tarigami

THESE were the painful words of Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, said in a press conference on February 12, 2020 at Delhi. Sitaram Yechury, general secretary of CPI(M) started the press conference.

Yechury in the beginning congratulated the people of Delhi for giving a resounding defeat to the politics of hatred and division led by the BJP. Speaking on the present situation in Jammu and Kashmir, he said that six months have passed by since the abrogation of Article 370 and the state has been very badly hit on various fronts. The tourism sector was badly affected; the agriculture and horticulture were also severely hit, owing to complete blockade. The saffron, which is one of the major remunerative crops of the valley, saw a decline in sales as online payments collapsed. He said, the economy is suffering and the livelihood conditions of the people were more miserable.

Yechury lambasted at the central government for providing no relief to the people. Commenting on a delegation which was visiting today i.e., February 12, he said the diplomats come and go and all these visits are stage managed. Yechury said once they leave new draconian sections are slapped on the leaders of the J and K. He was referring to the recent PSA(Public Safety Act) imposed on Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, both former chief ministers of the state.

Yechury ridiculed the government and said that the BJP boasts of normalcy narrative in the state, whereas the leaders and other sections of the people are intimidated and put behind the bars. Ridiculing the central government, he said that being a popular leader and asking people to vote in the elections is also seen as a crime by the BJP government. He was referring to the PSA slapped on Omar Abdullah, where the pretext for such a step was that he asked the people to vote and that he is a popular leader. Similarly referring to the colour of Mehbooba Mufti’s party, green and that being the reason for slapping PSA, Yechury castigated the government and said they are going out of their limits. If green colour is a problem, then how does one qualify the national tricolour which has one-third green; will that be removed, he quipped.

Yechury said, he was receiving delegations from Jammu and Ladhak regions which were concerned about their rights that they enjoyed in the past; pertaining to their identity and under Article 35 A. He said till the time the Supreme Court does not decided on the petitions challenging the abrogation of Article 370 and 35 A, the Jammu and Kashmir administration should not take decisions like giving government land to individuals and trusts from different states. Such decisions cannot be legally sustainable.

Tarigami said that whatever is happening in Kashmir should not be considered an issue of the valley; rather it has implications for the country. He said Kashmir issue is reduced to a real estate issue. It is ridiculous. Kashmir is a big human tragedy. Ridiculing the central government and exposing it, he said those who stand by the unity of India have been put behind the bars in Jammu and Kashmir.

Challenging grounds of detention of Mehbooba Mufti, Tarigami said certain insulting remarks were also passed, which exposes the BJP’s mindset and shows their bankruptcy. Democracy and nationalism are shown as contradictions to each other. It is not true. Jammu and Kashmir also have a right of a democratic structure. The people have that right under the republican constitution, he asserted.

Tarigami said why do not the central government holds elections to the state legislature and allow the people to decide their representatives. Rather, a slanderous campaign is unleashed in the country against Kashmir and it is exhibited as if all are terrorists in Kashmir.

Speaking on the blow to tourism, he said most of the hotels and guest houses are turned into jails, and with that he said the central government must notify Kashmir as an open jail. Because, he said, that is the virtual reality of the Kashmiris. He said the people of Kashmir have lost trust in the government but have tremendous faith in the people of India. Referring to Delhi elections, he said it is a great sigh of relief and a ray of hope for the people, not just in Delhi but also in Kashmir.

Tarigami gave details about the loss, the people of Kashmir and Jammu have faced owing to damage to apple trees because of heavy and unprecedented snowfall last year. He said the market has totally collapsed and the fruit growers could not transport their produce to the market. Thirty-six central ministers visited J and K, 31 visited Jammu and five went to Kashmir; nobody knows what the outcome of their visit is as no relief was disbursed after their visit. He said people of Jammu and Ladhak regions are screaming for their rights enjoyed in the past, but the government has not yet decided on the tribal status of the Ladhak region. Tarigami said these demands pertain to Buddhists, Muslims and Hindus.

He called upon the media personnel and asked them to visit Kashmir and find out for themselves the condition of their counterparts, where every news is censored by the government. Tarigami said the newspapers have virtually become gazetteers of the government.

On the allotment of the land to few individuals and trusts he said the government must stop this exercise immediately. He strongly demanded restoration of internet services.