‘What happened to J&K was a prelude to BJP’s plan for India’

Protesters gathered at Mandi House and marched towards Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday.

Protesters gathered at Mandi House and marched towards Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: Sushil Kumar Verma

Several senior leaders, students, activists march in the national capital to protest the Central government’s decision to amend Article 370

As Jammu and Kashmir remains under a communication lockdown, protesters gathered at Mandi House on Wednesday and marched towards Jantar Mantar in protest against the government’s decision to remove the special status of the State and bifurcate it into two Union Territories.

The march was taken out under the eye of the police and paramilitary forces that made a ring around the protesters as a group of counter-protesters waved the national flag and shouted slogans of ‘Vande Matram’ and ‘Bharat Mata ki Jai’ at several locations along the route.

Several senior leaders, including CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury, CPI general secretary D. Raja, Politburo member Brinda Karat, and NFIW general secretary Annie Raja, along with student activists participated in the march.

Mr. Yechury said that what had happened to Jammu and Kashmir was a prelude to the BJP’s plans for India.

“The promise that the same government made three years ago was to consult all the stakeholders before any decision on Jammu and Kashmir. But now the same people have been jailed and cut-off from the rest of the country. All this threatens federalism and the unity and integrity of India,” Mr. Yechury said.

Kashmiri protesters, who have not heard from their families back in the State, are worried. Nasir Husain, a Kashmiri medical student studying in Delhi, shared that it had been three days since he last spoke to his mother who is unwell. “She had an appointment with the doctor the day they announced the abrogation of the Article. There has been a complete blackout since and I do not know if she was able to go. People cannot even access the lawns of their houses there,” Mr. Husain said. He arrived at the protest with his luggage as he was heading back to Srinagar and said he feared for his life in Delhi.

“I think the Centre has given the paramilitary forces a licence to kill. They are ready for the casualties,” he added.

The crowd marching to Jantar Mantar shouted slogans of ‘inquilab zindabad’, ‘goonda gardi nahi chalegi’ and ‘Amit Shah Murdabad’. Avanti Balachandran and Keri Karen Sam, third-year law students at O.P. Jindal University were also part of the protest. They said, “Kashmir has been under siege for 40 years and instead of eradicating that, we have allowed the State to go from having a special status to the lowest one.”

Granddaughters of Kashmiri politician Prem Nath Bazaz were also present at the protest. Seher and Tamanna Bazaz said that they had gathered there because they believed the BJP could do this to other States as well. “The people of Kashmir own Kashmir and they get to decide what they want. The thread of democracy that India shared with Kashmir has been broken. You cannot go lower than this because there is nothing left,” they added.

Echoing this sentiment, Anjali Bhardwaj, a member of the National Campaign for People’s Right to Information, said: “Arresting people, blocking communication, sending troops, and then bringing a Bill in complete secrecy and in a surreptitious manner challenge people’s right to know and participate. Where is the freedom of speech and expression?”

Calling the government’s move “a travesty of democracy,” CPI(ML) general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya said, “Everyone is talking about buying land in Kashmir as if that is the only thing Kashmir has to offer.”

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Printable version | Jul 2, 2020 1:34:26 PM |

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