NEW DELHI, Mar 10 (Agencies): Opposition parties, demanded the immediate release of all political detainees in Jammu and Kashmir, especially the three former Chief Ministers.
In a joint statement, by NCP supremo Sharad Pawar, Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress president Mamata Banerjee, former Prime Minister and Janata Dal (Secular) leader HD Deve Gowda, CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, RJD MP Prof Manoj Kumar Jha, former Union Ministers Yashwant Sinha and Arun Shourie, said that the indefinite detention of the three former CMs, along with many other political activists, is a blatant violation of their fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution.
“This must be seen in the larger context of the prolonged lockdown of the state since August 5, 2019, which also is an attack on the Constitutionally assured rights and dignity of millions of our sisters and brothers in Kashmir”, the Opposition parties said.
Stating that the continuing detention of Dr Farooq Abdullah, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti, is on flimsiest of grounds, the joint statement said that “there is nothing in the past records of these three leaders to lend credence to the Narendra Modi government’s false and self-serving claim that they pose a threat to ‘public safety’ in Jammu and Kashmir or that they have endangered national interests with their activities”.
The opposition also pointed out that the BJP itself has allied with all three of them, and their parties, in the past, both at the Centre – with National Conference- and in the state – with People’s Democratic Party.
“India and its Constitution have always stood for ‘unity in diversity’ with everybody’s views respected, honoured and heard. However, in the government of Narendra Modi, democratic dissent is being muzzled by coercive administrative action, which has threatened the basic ideals of justice, liberty, equality and fraternity as enshrined in our Constitution”, the statement added.
It also alleged that there are growing assaults on democratic norms, fundamental rights and civic liberties of citizens of the Indian Republic and added that “as a result, dissent is not only being stifled, but the avenues of raising critical voices are also being systematically muted”.
“All this exposes the oft-repeated lie of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah that the situation in Jammu and Kashmir is ‘completely normal’. ‘
It alleged that the government has recently organised well-choreographed visits of the foreign diplomats to Srinagar in a bid to show the world that the situation in J&K is ‘normal’, it has placed all kinds of hurdles in the attempts of representatives of India’s own political and media establishment to move freely in the state and assess the situation on the ground.
“It is our bounden duty to demand the immediate release of the three former Chief Ministers of Jammu and Kashmir and all the other political detainees.”
The opposition also demanded complete and verifiable restoration of the rights and freedoms of people of Kashmir, “who, against all odds, have repeatedly shown their allegiance to the Indian Union, by being an integral part of our democratic process.”