Kashmiris are dying a slow death, says CPI(M) leader Tarigami

CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury and party leader from Kashmir Mohammed Tarigami.   | Photo Credit: Sandeep Saxena

CPI(M) leader of Kashmir and former legislator Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami on Tuesday hit out at the the BJP government’s “not a bullet fired” narrative since August 5, when Article 370 was nullified and the State bifurcated as Union Territories, saying the people of Kashmir were “dying a slow death” due to the ongoing clampdown.

Mr. Tarigami is the first Kashmiri politician among those detained who could reach Delhi. He met reporters at the party headquarters.

He said the the truth is “dheere, dheere mar rahe hai, ghutan ho rahi hai wahan [We are dying slowly. We are being suffocated there]”. In an emotional appeal to the rest of the country, he said: “Hum bhi jeena chate hai, ek Kashmiri, ek Hindustani bol raha hai yahan. Yeh meri appeal hai, hamari bhi sune, hamme bhi zinda rehne ka mauka dein [we also want to live, a Kashmiri, a Hindustani is saying this. I appeal, we too should get a chance to live].”

The nullification of Article 370 and reorganisation of the State without any consultation with the State showed the desperation of the Narendra Modi regime. “Average Kashmiri doesn't ask for heavens, we just ask for a chance to march with you, take us along,” he said.

Mr. Tarigami pointed out that he had seen worst times in Kashmir but never felt as disturbed as he felt today. The clampdown has been going on for over 40-days. “Why don't they try doing this in Delhi or any other city for a week. How would your business work, what about your school going kids and what about hospitals.” Can Delhi try to build the trust of Kashmiris by beating them up or putting them in jail, by suspending communication facilities and crippling the daily life, he asked. “Today, Kashmiri politicians are in jail... people sitting across the border are clapping that you have done what we could not,” he said.

Kashmiris, he said, were neither forced or compelled to join India. “People of Kashmir decided not to accept diktats from the other side, but to join secular India. We were neither forced or compelled.” Today, those bonds that were created by the hard work of the people of Kashmir and the rest of the country have been assaulted.

‘We are not terrorists’

Mr. Tarigami asserted that Dr. Farooq Abdullah or other Kashmiri leaders were not terrorists. On August 4, there was an all-party meeting in Srinagar. After the meeting, Dr. Abdullah, on behalf of all the political parties, briefed the media and appealed to people not to spread panic. “Within hours, by midnight, all the political leaders, including Dr. Abdullah and myself, were put under house arrest. The party would file a separate writ petition challenging the abrogation of Article 370, he added.

CPI (M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said, “the Main issue is of people's livelihood. It's been 40 days since life has been disrupted. And no one knows how long it will continue.” The landlines were still down. The landline of Mr Tarigami's home and many other party colleagues were not working. There were many shortages, especially medicines in hospitals.

Mr. Tarigami (72) is a four-time legislator of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly. He had been put house arrest without any formal orders since August 5 at his residence in Srinagar. After two failed visits to Srinagar when he had to return back from the airport itself, Mr Yechury filed a habeus corpus petition in the Supreme Court following which he was allowed to travel to Mr Tarigami's residence on August 29. Based on Mr. Yechury's report on Mr. Tarigami's health condition, the Supreme Court ordered that he be brought to Delhi for a check-up and follow-up treatment at the AIIMS. He was shifted to the AIIMS on September 9.

A Bench of Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi and Justices S A Bobde and S A Nazeer on Monday said the former MLA did not need any permission to go home if doctors at the AIIMS allowed him. The order, however, clarified that “if he intends to move around any part of Srinagar, where there are restrictions or prohibitions to move, he will be free to do so, subject to requisite permission from the district authorities”.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 9:13:40 AM |

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