New Delhi: Opposition parties, including the Congress, the Trinamool Congress (TMC), Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), Samajwadi Party and the Left staged a protest at Jantar Mantar here on Thursday, demanding the release of the political leaders under detention in Jammu and Kashmir.
Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, CPI (M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI General Secretary D Raja, Samajwadi Party leader Ramgopal Yadav, Loktantrik Janata Dal's Sharad Yadav, Rashtriya Janata Dal’s Manoj Jha and Jammu and Kashmir People’s Movement Party leader Shehla Rashid were among those who shared the stage.
The call for the protest was given by DMK’s President M.K. Stalin in a tweet. He, however, chose to not attend the protest himself.
Expressing solidarity with the people of J&K, the Opposition leaders raised slogans demanding restoration of normalcy there, resumption of telecommunication services in the Valley and immediate release of all political leaders who have been detained.
“With the military takeover of the Kashmir by the central government, Bharatiya Janata Party has manipulated the constitution, said CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury while addressing the crowd, adding that, “it is a mockery of democracy which also goes against the words of even BJP prominent leader Atal Bihari Vajpayee who once said that the pillars of the solution of the Kashmir issue will be kashmiriyat, insaniyat and jhamuriyat (democracy).”
Democracy has been trampled in Jammu and Kashmir since the announcement was made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah on August 5. Many eminent figures of the Kashmir politics namely Farooq Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti, Shah Faesel, are currently serving detention. In addition to the crackdown against the political leaders and activists, it has been reported that over 4,000 people have been arrested in the region since the abrogation of Article 370.
Choosing not to join the BJP government’s “orchestra” which is singing “All is Well in Kashmir”, Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Manoj Jha asked the central government about what they were trying to prevent with the so-called “preventive detentions.”
“On what grounds has the BJP government detained three former Chief Ministers of the J&K state,” Jha said, adding “… it can be clearly observed that the moral majority is being compromised against the majority in Parliament.”
Newsclick has earlier reported on how the Kashmiri families are feeling the sting of the crackdown. With curfew, schools shutdown and communications blackout, every arm of the local economy has been disempowered.
Reiterating similar emotions, former Chief Minister of the J&K Ghulam Nabi Azad thanked the Opposition for coming together and raising a voice against the grave happenings in the state.
A resolution was passed during the protest demanding for “the immediate release of all public representatives of mainstream political parties and innocent citizens.”
The resolution added: “There has been a chilling crackdown on free speech and the right of assembly. Such actions go against the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India and need to be immediately reversed.”
Inputs From PTI