SRINAGAR – Sixty-four citizens comprising Kashmiri Pandits, Dogras and Sikhs have stated that they “unequivocally condemn the abrogation of Article 370,” and have made a call for “an immediate lifting of the state of siege” in the Valley.
Terming themselves “the stateless state-subjects of the, now, erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir”, prominent personalities including Air Vice Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak, theatre and film actor MK Raina, cardiologist Upendra Kaul, senior journalists Sharda Ugra, Pradeep Magazine and Anuradha Bhasin among others have signed the petition.
In a strong criticism of the methodology of the abrogation as one that was “made in stealth and using coercive means,” the signatories have condemned the move as “unconstitutional and in violation of the historical promises made to the peoples of Jammu & Kashmir by the Union of India.”
Commenting on the manner in which Article 370 was amended, Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Kak told The Quint, “It is unconstitutional, illegal and undemocratic. There is tinkering done with the Constitution which doesn’t stand the course of law.”
Commenting on the “clandestine manner in which the Government of India proceeded in the matter,” the petition goes on to question the exclusion of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly’s approval for the move.
The petitioners assert it was in “complete exclusion of the opinion & consent of the Legislative Assembly of the J&K amounts to an authoritarian & undemocratic rejection of all norms of democracy.”
“They have altered through a Presidential Order another article of the Constitution which replaces Constituent Assembly with Legislative Assembly,” said Kak.
“For Legislative Assembly it should be read as governor. The power of the people is reflected by the Legislative Assembly because they are elected by the people,” he added.
Veteran theatre personality MK Raina told The Quint he has been in pain since this news broke. “When I had to run away with my family from Kashmir in 1990 I always had hope that I will go back. It is not my state anymore, it is a Union Territory,” he said.
“Even if I return I will be looked upon with suspicion that ‘you have come as an invader, you stole our Constitution, you stole our statehood,’ and that pains me. Everybody talks about the red flag. It is not just a flag, it is a struggle. It was a people’s flag, it wasn’t a Maharaja’s flag,” he added.
“We condemn and reject this unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional imposition on us,” the petition states.
‘Will Resist Any Attempt Made to Divide Us’
Stating that the signatories “are pained at the division of our homeland and we pledge that we stand united in this time of trial and crisis,” the petition concludes with three specific demands from the central government.
- We call for an immediate lifting of the state of siege on Jammu & Kashmir.
- We demand immediate revocation of communication gag on the people of J&K.
- We also call for all political representatives to be freed from arbitrary and illegal detention.
“It’s not only my relatives, my friends there are my family also. One friend told me very nervously about his daughter’s marriage and he doesn’t know what will happen,” MK Raina said about the gag on communication and movement.
The Petition in Full
We, the stateless state-subjects of the, now, erstwhile state of Jammu & Kashmir, unequivocally condemn the abrogation of Article 370.
We take this opportunity to remind the citizens of India that Jammu & Kashmir chose to accede because of the secular & democratic character of the Indian dominion. The state of Jammu & Kashmir was the only princely state which negotiated the terms of its accession during the proceedings of the Constituent Assembly of India in 1949, consequent to which the Article 370 came into existence without any opposition.
Therefore we consider this move of abrogation of Article 370, made in stealth and using coercive means, to be unconstitutional and in violation of the historical promises made to the peoples’ of Jammu & Kashmir by the Union of India. The clandestine manner in which the Government of India proceeded in the matter, in complete exclusion of the opinion & consent of the Legislative Assembly of the J&K amounts to an authoritarian & undemocratic rejection of all norms of democracy.
We reiterate the fact that, we the people of Jammu & Kashmir were not consulted and no decision about our future, taken without our consent can be termed as legitimate.
We condemn and reject this unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional imposition on us.
We call for an immediate lifting of the state of siege on Jammu & Kashmir. We demand immediate revocation of communication gag on the people of J&K. We also call for all political representatives to be freed from arbitrary and illegal detention.
We are pained at the division of our homeland and we pledge that we stand united in this time of trial and crisis. We will resist any attempt made to divide us on ethnic, cultural and communal lines.
Rabinder Singh, Assistant Professor;
Air vice marshal (retd) Kapil Kak;
Upendra Kaul(U Kaul), Doctor, Cardiologist;
Anuradha Bhasin, Executive Editor, Kashmir Times;
M.K. Raina, Theatre and Film Artist
Badri Raina, Professor, Author and Columnist;
Nitasha Kaul, Professor and Author;
Mona Bhan, Associate Professor and Author;
Suvir Kaul, Professor and Author;
Pradeep Magazine, Senior Journalist;
Pushkar Nath Ganjoo, Retired Bureaucrat;
Nirdosh Uppal, Social Activist;
Sharda Ugra, Journalist;
Marvi Slathia Ph.D.Research scholar;
Shvaita Kaul, writer and political activist
Nishita Trisal, PhD Student;
Sagrika Kissu, Journalist;
I.D Khajuria, Peace Activist, IDP;
Prem Pal Singh, Lok Manch;
Cathleen Kaur, Consultant;
Raghuvir Singh Jamwal, Social Activist;
Narinder Khajuria, Social Activist;
Shubham Koul, Visual Artist;
Ayushi Koul, Fashion Designer;
Supriya Kissu, Student;
Sakshi Raina, Student;
Supriya Sharma, Student;
Dr Bhupinder Singh, Dental Doctor;
Amarjeet Singh, IT Professional;
Sumeet Kour, Biotech Professional;
Narinder Pal Kour, Retired Government Employee;
Supinder Kour, Housewife;
Sachin Raina, Student;
Vivek Raina, Student;
Satvinder Singh, Student;
Simran Jeet Kour, Teacher;
Swaran Singh, Businessman;
Tejpal Singh, Businessman;
Avtar Singh, Businessman;
Jagroop Singh, Retired Employee;
Shubham Kaul, Artist;
Kuldeep Singh, Consultant;
Parvinder Kour, Engineer;
Satish Kumar, Consultant;
Raman Kumar, Journalist;
Kulwant Kour, Housewife;
Jasbir Singh, Businessman;
Agrita Chibber, Student;
Sandeep Kour, House wife;
Sanam Sutirath Wazir, Human Rights Activist;
Parvinder Singh, Engineer;
Simy Dhar, Engineer Entrepreneur;
Kiran Ganjoo, Retired Teacher;
Priyadarshini Arambam ,Clinical researcher;
Priyawarat Kumar , Secretary;
Prabhpreet Kour, Homemaker;
Jason Singh, Student;
Manpreet Kour, housewife;
Jayant Ugra, Photographer;
Avinash Azad, Journalist
Akshay Azad, Journalist
Ruchika Raina, Researcher
Aditya Gupta, Lawyer