Skip to main content

Lives, rights, aspirations, hopes of people of Kashmir are 'biggest' casualties: PUCL

Counterview Desk
India’s well-known human rights organization, People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), has said that the decision to drop the special status to Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) is “a coup against the Constitution and the Kashmiris”, adding, the change in the status of J&K from a state to a Union territory is “an unethical and undemocratic act”, as it “robs the people of Kashmir the little democratic space they have.
Pointing out that the steps would “further alienate the people of Kashmir from the Indian State”, PUCL, in a statement signed by Ravi Kiran Jain, national president, and Dr V Suresh, national general secretary, has asked the Government of India to reverse its steps, remove prohibitory orders in J&K, and “undertake any action” it wants to on Kashmir “only after consulting the Kashmiri people.”

Text:

The PUCL condemns the abrogation of key portions of Article 370 of the Indian Constitution and the bifurcation of the State of J&K and taking away its statehood. While the deed by itself is deceitful, the manner in which it was done is even more so. All the constitutional provisions, procedures, safeguards and values have been disregarded. What pains us most is that this change of status of the erstwhile state of J&K, was carried out with stealth, completely unilaterally, without even talking or consulting the people of J&K, even as part of Government tokenism.
PUCL, in particular, strongly condemns the planned and sinister manner by which the Government of India has gone about arresting at midnight of Sunday, 4-5th August, 2019 important leaders of political parties in J&K, including former Chief Ministers Omar Abdullah, Mehbooba Mufti and others, soon after airlifting over 35,000 troops and suddenly and abruptly asking all Amarnath Yatris and holiday visitors to leave the state creating acute sense of fear and panic.
Simultaneously, the Government in a concerted manner, also shut down all communication and telecom services to and from the valley, effectively ghettoizing the entire state into a state of forced silence, while also imposing curfew in the state preventing movement of people, thereby creating chaos, distress and disruption of normal life. Students from other states were asked to leave Kashmir while Kashmiris outside the state continue to live in panic unable to communicate with their families in the Valley.
The ulterior plan behind such unprecedented action became apparent on Monday, 5th August, 2019, with the Government quickly pushing through legislations to abrogate major portion of Art. 370thereby discontinuing Special Status to J&K and bifurcating the State into two Union territories: J&K and Ladakh.
It is pertinent to point out that Article 370 of the Constitution of India is a self-contained Article. It determined how the Constitution of India would apply to J&K and also specifically provided for the procedure for the abrogation of Article 370 itself. The President can pass an order under Article 370 (3), removing article 370 only if the Constituent Assembly of J&K recommended the same.
Since the Constituent Assembly of J&K ceased functioning in 1957, the Supreme Court in its judgement in `SBI vs Santosh Gupta’, (2017)’, held that the Article 370 has become permanent unless another Constituent Assembly of J&K was constituted. In order to get over this constitutional roadblock, the present BJP Government adopted a rather devious and unconstitutional route.
Article 370 (1) (d) of the Constitution empowers the President, from time to time, to issue notifications modifying the manner in which the constitutional provisions can be made applicable to the State of J&K. Article 367 of the Constitution of India explains how phrases in the Constitution are to be interpreted. The issue, in case of abrogation of Article 370, was the need for recommendation of 'Constituent Assembly of the State’. 
What the BJP Government did was very insidious and cunning. On 5th August, 2019, they introduced a 3-stepAmendment process. In the first step a Presidential Notification under Article 370 (1)(d) was issued amending Article 367 by introducing a new Sub-clause (4) which stated that the expression “Constituent Assembly” in Article 370(3) shall be read as “Legislative Assembly of the State”. The effect was that after this change, Article 370 of the Constitution could be amended removing the necessity to obtain the recommendation of the ‘Constituent Assembly’.
It is most troubling that political leaders of Kashmir who never disputed the accession of Kashmir with India have been placed under preventive detention
Now, since J&K has been under President’s Rule since December 2018, it means that the powers of the State Legislature are being exercised by the President of India. This, in effect, results in a farcical situation in which the President of India has consented to permit himself (as Head of the State Government of J&K) to recommend abrogation of Art. 370 of the Constitution!
In other words, what could not be done directly was done indirectly and the constitutional provisions have been undermined. This is a clear subversion of the constitutional provisions by the BJP government.
What is shocking is the utter contempt that the current dispensation has been exhibiting for constitutional procedures and democratic processes, which actually is a consistent pattern we have witnessed in the recent past with the passing of a slew of legislations which have serious ramifications, as a Money Bill.
The change in the status of the erstwhile state of J&K from a State to a Union Territory is an unethical and undemocratic act. It robs the people of Kashmir the little democratic space they have and will only further alienate the people of Kashmir from the Indian State.
The argument that Article 370 is a clause which obstructed the complete integration of Kashmir with the rest of India and prevented development is a totally flawed logic. The unamended Article 370 was put in place to recognise in principle the distinct identity and autonomy of the Kashmiri people. This was necessitated by the history and the context of accession of Kashmir with India.
It is most troubling that political leaders of Kashmir who never disputed the accession of Kashmir with India and who participated in the Indian democratic process have been placed under preventive detention and were kept completely in the dark when decisions which impacts the state were taken. In this entire exercise the lives, rights, aspirations and hopes of the people of Kashmir are the biggest casualties.
PUCL apprehends that there is another insidious dimension in taking away the statehood of the J&K. It is a ploy to take control of their natural resources, their water, mountains, the hills and fields and forests. It is yet another act to aggrandise and deprive the common Kashmiri and convert the valley into a real estate venture. 
 In the three speeches in the Rajya Sabha made by the Home Minister, he continuously spoke of how the state was in the dark ages and needed to be brought into the main stream with hotels and other people of India having an opportunity to buy land, build houses and live there.
Lastly the actions of the BJP government not to have provided with at least two days’ notice to the MPs to study the Reorganization of J&K Bill or the President’s resolution to repeal Article 370, shows that the BJP not only does not want scrutiny and deliberation, which is the key to any democratic process but also just wants to convert the Parliament to a rubber stamp, which is what the first session of Parliament of the 17th Lok Sabha has become.
The passage of 32 bills, in haste, without pre-legislative consultation with public or discussions with those to be impacted by the concerned bills or denying the right to send bills to the select committee, not only confirms this but also indicates what await us in the near future.
The PUCL would urge the people of India to see yesterday’s process in Parliament as one more effort to repress and subjugate the people of Kashmir and should oppose this decision of the Government peacefully. We would also like our sisters and brothers in Kashmir to know that we are with them and share their loss and grief against this latest attack by the GOI on them.
PUCL demands:
  1. That the clampdown on telecom services and communication and restrictions on movement be immediately lifted.
  2. All political/opposition leaders be released.
  3. Normalcy be restored in the Valley. 
  4. All the troops be withdrawn. 
  5. The three legislation introduced on 5th August, 2019, viz., the (i) The Constitution (Application to J&K) Order, 2019 - Presidential order CO 272, (ii) Statutory Resolution introduced in the Rajya Sabha and (iii) The J&K Reorganisation Bill be rolled back. And 
  6. Undertake any action with regard to Kashmir only after consulting the Kashmiri people.

Comments

Unknown said…
I fully agree with PUCL recommendations to GOI.

TRENDING

Mallika Sarabhai releases speech she was 'not allowed' to give at NID Convocation on Feb 7

Counterview Desk
The National Institute of Design (NID) in Ahmedabad, a Ministry of Commerce and Industry body, landed itself in controversy following its decision to put off its 40th convocation ceremony, where noted danseuse Mallika Sarabhai was invited as chief guest. The ceremony was scheduled to be held on February 7.

Modi, Shah 'forget': Gandhi’s first Satyagraha was against citizenship law of South Africa

By Nachiketa Desai*
Hindu fanatic Nathuram Godse assassinated Mahatma Gandhi once on January 30, 1948 but his followers raising the war cry of ‘Jai Sriram’ are killing the Mahatma every day. In his home state of Gujarat, Gandhiji was killed a thousand times in 2002 when over 2,000 Muslims were butchered, their women raped, homes and shops plundered and set on fire and even unborn babies ripped out of the wombs of their mothers.

As corona virus 'travels' to rural areas, NGO begins training tribals, marginalised women

By Souparno Chatterjee*
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared corona virus a pandemic. Originating from Wuhan in China, it has traversed the entire globe, almost, and claimed more than 16,000 lives already. That’s largely the urban population. In India, despite all the preparedness and war-like promptness to safeguard against the pandemic, several lives have been lost , and hundreds of individuals have tested positive.

Rani Laxmi Bai, Tatya Tope 'martyred' by East India Company, Scindia's forefathers

By Our Representative
In an email alert to Counterview, well-known political scientist Shamsul Islam has said that was “shameful for any political party in democratic India to keep children of Sindhias in their flock” given their role during the First War of Indian Independence (1857). In a direct commentary on Madhya Pradesh Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia moving over to BJP, Prof Islam has quote from a British gazetteer to prove his point.

COVID-19: Dalit rights bodies regret, no relief plan yet for SCs, STs, marginalized

By Our Representative
In a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the National Dalit Watch-National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights, endorsed* by several other Dalit rights organizations, have insisted, the Government of India should particular care of the scheduled castes and tribes, trans folks, persons with disabilities and the women and children from these communities, while fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.

Big 'danger' of NPR: A babu can tag anyone as doubtful citizen, Jharkhand meet told

' By Our Representative
People in large numbers from across Jharkhand gathered at the Raj Bhawan in Ranchi to demand that the Hemant Soren government reject National Population Register (NPR) and stop all NPR-related activities. The people’s organisations which participated in the dharna under the banner of the Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JMM) resolved to intensify their struggle, insisting, NPR is not a Hindu-Muslim issue but is essentially anti-poor.

Coronavirus scare ‘pushing’ people from Northeast India into more hardship

By Rishiraj Sinha, Biswanath Sinha*
“No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background or his religion. People learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela
***

Gujarat govt plan to 'banish' Gandhian activist anti-democratic, unconstitutional

By Rohit Prajapati*
The current Central and Gujarat governments, and their bureaucracy, have been and are still unable to answer and address the concerns raised, with facts, figures, and constitutional provisions, regarding the terror of tourism in the name of the Statue of Unity and tourism projects surrounding it.

Haridwar Swamis lead Khudai Khidmatgar peace march in Delhi 'riot affected' areas

By Our Representative
A Khudai Kidmatgar team, which visited the riot-affected regions along with Swami Shivanand Saraswati and Swami Punyanand, has insisted that India's true heritage is the lesson of ‘vasudhaiv kutumbakam', and it is the responsibility of all to carry froward this legacy. Originally founded by Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in 1930, also known as Frontier Gandhi, Khudai Khidmatgar is claimed to have been revived by young Gandhian activist Faisal Khan in 2011.