August 29, 2021

JAMMU & KASHMIR: Gupkar Alliance Demands Restoration of Article 370 and 35A

Below we publish the text of the resolution adopted in the extended meeting of the People’s Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) on August 24, 2021 held at Srinagar.

UNCONSTITUTIONAL decisions of August 5, 2019 taken in the parliament to nullify Articles 370 and 35A 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. 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.

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’.  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.

By making the status of permanent residents of erstwhile state redundant, thereby, the protection of jobs and land rights were snatched arbitrarily which deepened the sense of insecurity in the regions and communities.

Economy of the region 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.

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.

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.

It is absolutely imperative that people in every region and community in J&K remain united and not fall prey to false campaigns and attempts aimed at dividing and disempowering them further. Not only in Kashmir, but 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”.

Nothing substantial has emerged after prime minister’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 distressed people of the region.

Statehood 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.

PAGD firmly resolves to uphold the glorious traditions of unity, amity and brotherhood of the people of different regions and communities. We assure our people that we shall remain on their side under all circumstances for their better future and dignified life.