CHENNAI – An all party meeting led by the DMK on Saturday demanded the immediate release of detained former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Ministers Mehbooba Mufti and Omar Abdullah, and others who have been placed under house arrest in light of the abrogation of Article 370 by the Union government.
According to The NEWS Minutes,, the meeting, led by DMK chief and Leader of the Opposition in Tamil Nadu MK Stalin, condemned the ‘unilateral’ move by the BJP government on August 5, which rendered redundant the special status for Jammu and Kashmir. The move has sparked protests across the region as well as in other parts of India and the world and has been condemned for being undemocratic and authoritarian.
The parties also called for the withdrawal of the unprecedented troop deployment to Kashmir, without affecting the security of India. Even prior to the announcement to revoke special status, Jammu and Kashmir has been incommunicado, with phone and internet connectivity to the newly-designated Union Territory being shut down. A resolution passed at the DMK headquarters called for the restoration of connectivity in order to allow normalcy to return to the Valley and for people to return to their livelihoods.
Apart from the DMK, representatives of the Congress, VCK, MDMK, Dravidar Kazhagam were present. Thamimun Ansari, an MLA who contested on the AIADMK symbol, also attended the meeting. It may be noted that the AIADMK had welcomed the Union government’s decision in Parliament.
“This meeting of all parties insists that the BJP government at the Centre not implement this anti-democratic, anti-people decision that is violative of federal principles and states’ rights until the Supreme Court investigates this issue and pronounces a verdict. In a manner indicative of understanding the people affected, we ask that this law, passed in Parliament, and its effects, be stalled by the BJP government at the Centre until there is an Assembly and government elected by the Kashmiri people,” a statement issued by the all party meeting said.
The leaders also said, “The central government must immediately send a delegation of leaders of all parties represented in the Parliament; (we ask) that the government come forward and arrangements be made for an interaction with the people there in order to tell the people in the country the true ground reality.”
‘Unforgivable betrayal of Kashmiri people’
Slamming the revocation of the ‘well-considered’ Article by the PM Narendra Modi-led government, the statement said, “The all party meeting considers the revocation of this special Article a murder of democracy, an unforgivable betrayal of the Kashmiri people, a violation of the constitutional laws, an occupation.”
The DMK and its allies also expressed their total lack of trust in the BJP government given its ‘communal thinking.’ They pointed out, “Having assumed the Governor to be the Chief Minister; having imagined that Governor’s rule is the elected government of the people, the central government, which has taken this authoritarian decision, has disrespected the principles of federalism enshrined in the Constitution. There is also the implicit danger that what happened to Kashmir today could happen to any state tomorrow. There is no guarantee that this law would not be used as precedent for any state to be faced (with a similar situation). In that way, this is a very bad example and is a permanent scar upon the Constitution.”
The statement also said that the union BJP government, which is ‘indulging in acts shaking the very foundations of the Indian democracy’, has initiated the ‘poisonous experiment of sowing hate among different sections of people living with brotherhood and tolerance.’
“This meeting wishes to express with shock that the Indian Constitution, its intentions and its structure are being subjected to continuous attacks by the BJP-led Central government. This decision— taken unilaterally and in haste without consulting the views of political parties in Kashmir; without knowing the wishes of the Kashmiri people; without even convening an all party meeting despite the Parliament being in session— is one that will have undesirable consequences. The all party meeting wishes to state with conviction that the people will not ever permit the degradation of the Constitution and its intentions in India, which is celebrated as the world’s largest democracy, by the authoritarian preying of a single party,” said the statement.