As Rajya Sabha members debated the amendment to Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir and a Bill to divide the State into two Union Territories, several students gathered at Jantar Mantar on Monday to stage a protest against the move.
The group of protesters, including Kashmiris residing here, shouted slogans and waved banners against the government’s decision.
The agitation was carried out under the vigilance of the police and paramilitary forces. Behind the Delhi Police barricades that cordoned off the street, protesters voiced their opinions.
Twenty-four-year-old Sharika from Kashmir expressed her fears of not being able to communicate with her family back home. She wondered whether she would be able to go home for Id.
‘For us, without us’
“What has happened in Kashmir will not be repeated in any other State. We always felt alienated and this decision has reinforced that,” she said. Her brother Haider said: “This is a decision for us, without us.”
Ever since most modes of communication were snapped in the Valley, Kashmiris residing here are worried about their family members back home. “This is a breach of trust and a blatant violation of the Constitution,” said law student Palvi from Himachal Pradesh.
She said non-Himachalis too cannot buy land in the State.
“Yet, the government has only tried to reverse this law in Kashmir not even in Ladakh. This makes it evident that this decision is motivated by religion and nothing else. It is psychological warfare,” she added.
Holding up a placard reading: “governance by conspiracy and coup: that is the democracy under Modi-Shah duopoly”, a 27-year-old Kashmiri Sikh said: “The facade of democracy in Kashmir is no more. What was accomplished by underhand tactics has now been institutionalised.”
“I fail to find a voice like Jayaprakash Narayan, who called the forced manner of integration ‘a suicide of India’s soul’, I fear to ask if a moral fabric exists at all,” he added.
Shweta and Malvika from Delhi said the move was a gross violation of human rights. “We see what has happened but there is no news from the Valley. The State recalled tourists and yatris but nothing was communicated to the residents. The bias against the State is clear. Are they not Indians?” they said.