Skip to main content

Modi govt's Kashmir moves suggest 'sinister plan' to have one party rule like in China

Green Nobel awardee Prafulla Samantara, part of NAPM team, detained in Srinagar  
By Sandeep Pandey*
A National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM) delegation was detained at Srinagar airport on the morning of October 4, 2019 by the district administration of Badgam and then sent back to Delhi. Individual notices in the name of three activists issued by district magistrate of Badgam say that there was an apprehension that these activists would organise a protest in Srinagar on the issue of abrogation of Article 370 which could pose a threat to law and order and hence their entry into Jammu & Kashmir was being restricted till further order.
A Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) officer was confused about why should people be sent back from Srinagar airport. If the government doesn't want them to enter J&K why doesn't it stop them when they are boarding their flights to Srinagar? Before the momentous decision was taken on August 5, when tourists were being sent back, in the end when one of them remained, a 225 seater plane was sent by the Indian Air Force with one passenger! Isn't it squandering tax-payer's money?
The NAPM delegation was planning to visit J&K for two days and wasn't planning to organise any protests or hold any meetings. It was merely planning to meet some common people to find out what hardships they were subjected to because of the various restrictions imposed on the people of J&K.
While the Union government is claiming and the Prime Minister has declared in several languages from Houston that 'everything is all right’, that is clearly not the case otherwise why should the government have to maintain the clampdown even two months after the decision taken to abrogate Articles 370 and 35A as well as division of state of J&K into two parts, downgrading both of them to union territories. There would not have been a need to prevent groups like NAPM from visiting J&K.
All means of communication, except for land line phones, are inoperational. Newspapers – except for one 'Brighter Kashmir’, which was spotted at the airport – are not being printed. The government is desperately trying to open the schools in Kashmir Division but parents find it difficult to send children because of uncertainty related to transportation.
NAPM team detained at Srinagar airport. Second from left: Sandeep Pandey
It is also the case that some schools are being used as camps for para-military forces. Most markets are still closed. Some shops open but only during morning 6 am to 9 am hours. Petrol pumps also open for a few hours every day. The fruit growers are finding it difficult to sell their produce to their customary buyers. Even though the government has agreed to buy their produce but the entire trade and market has been disrupted.
While the government claims that there is no curfew imposed but the fact is Section 144 of CrPC has been applied and people cannot move about freely. Even the Kashmiri officers of J&K government are subject to frisking and security checks by central security forces.
Most social and political activists, who could mobilise people against the central government's twin decisions, have been either sent to jails in different parts of the country or kept under arrest in their houses or some common locations in Srinagar converted to sub-jail. Most of these detentions are illegal, without any written orders of any authority.
In response to a Right to Information query the Home Ministry has pretended ignorance about any orders to block telecommunications and internet or evacuation of tourists and detention of political leaders and social activists. When the curfew-like situation ends there is also a need for enquiry into possible casualties during this clampdown. Right now all news of protests and the reaction of security forces are totally blocked.
There is talk of resuming the democratic process in the state of J&K by holding Block Panchayat elections. However, Panchayat is a state subject under 7th Schedule of the Indian Constitution. It is now going to be 14 months since the state is without an elected government. It is the duty of state government of J&K to hold the Panchayat elections.
The Central government should facilitate in holding the state assembly elections at the earliest and then also get the decisions taken by it approved by the state assembly, if it believes what it has done is in the interest of the people of J&K.
Only state assembly's endorsement of central government's decision can give it some legitimacy otherwise the manner in which it has been done is outright anti-democratic. If a similar decision, as has been taken by the government with respect to J&K, was taken in the context of any other state without consulting its people would the people have supported it?
Badgam district magistrate's orders
The Central government has to trust the people of J&K. All communications restrictions have to be lifted. Home Minister is claiming that government's decision will bring development to the state. The reality is even the companies which were there are now packing up to leave as they find the atmosphere not conducive to business. Which company would like to invest is a state in which normalcy doesn't prevail?
The Indian Railways has claimed that it has suffered a loss of Rs 2 crore because of the ongoing clampdown. Normalcy is not possible with the massive presence of army and para-military, which should be removed from internal areas of J&K and entrusted with the task of defending borders and checking infiltration of men and material from across the border. Internal law and order should be handled by the state government with the help of J&K police.
The future of the state has to be determined by the state government as a representative of the sentiment of people of J&K. The earlier the government of India understands this the faster the situation will return to normalcy.
Centre has done a potential damage by discrediting the state level political parties and their leaders. How does it plan to fill this vacuum?
It is interesting to note that while the Government of India (GoI's) is negotiating with NSCN (IM) or the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (Issac Muivah) and with Bodos for a concept of shared sovereignty and separate statehood, respectively, it doesn't think Kashmiris worth having a dialogue with. Just as NSCN (IM) represents popular sentiment of people of Nagaland, Hurriyat Conference is a representative of people of J&K.
Only an elected government in J&K can bring normalcy. However, the Central government has done a potential damage by discrediting the state level political parties and their leaders. Are corruption and dynastic rule only a phenomenon in J&K? How does it plan to fill this vacuum, unless it has sinister plans to have only a one party rule in the country like in China?
Otherwise it is not clear how the government intends to restore democracy in the state without taking people of J&K into confidence. How long does the central government intend to rule J&K through the Governor and the armed forces? It is impossible to change people's opinion in government's favour by using force, the reverse is likely to happen.
---
*Magsaysay award winning social and political activist

Comments

TRENDING

Mystery around Gujarat PSU 'transfer' of Rs 250 crore to Canadian firm Karnalyte

By AK Luke, IAS (Retd)*
While returning from a Board meeting of the Oil India Limited (OIL) in Ahmedabad some time in 2012, two officers of the Gujarat State Fertilizers and Chemicals Ltd (GSFC), Nanavaty and Patel,  saw me off at the airport. They said they were proceeding to Canada in connection with a project GSFC had entered into with a company there. As we were running late, I hastily wished them the best.

Savarkar in Ahmedabad 'declared' two-nation theory in 1937, Jinnah followed 3 years later

By Our Representative
One of the top freedom fighters whom BJP and Prime Minister Narendra Modi revere the most, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, was also a great supporter of the two nation theory for India, one for Hindus another for Muslims, claims a new expose on the man who is also known to be the original proponent of the concept of Hindutva.

J&K continues to be haunted, as parts of India 'degenerate' into quasi-Kashmir situation

By Rajendran Narayanan*, Sandeep Pandey**
“Jab har saans mein bandook dikhe toh baccha kaise bekhauf rahe?” (How can a child be fearless when she sees a gun in every breath?) remarked Anwar, a gardener from Srinagar, when asked about the situation in Kashmir. On November 30, 2019, a walk through an iron gate in a quiet neighbourhood of Srinagar took us inside a public school. It was 11 am when typically every school is abuzz with activity. Not here though.

Indians have made 119 nations their ‘karma bhumi’: US-based Hindu NGO tells Rupani

Counterview Desk
In a stinging letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, the US-based Hindus for Human Rights (HfHR), referring to the report citing his justification for the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) – that “while Muslims can choose any one of the 150 Islamic countries in the world (for residence), India is the only country for Hindus" – has said, he should remember, Hindus have made several countries, including USA, their home.

Dalits rights meet planned on how citizenship law 'negates' Ambedkar's equality focus

By Our Representative
A Dalit rights meet has been planned at the Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), Sanand, Ahmedabad district, to discuss implications of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), passed by Parliament on December 10-11, for Dalits, Adivasis and other marginalized sections. Announcing the decision, DSK director Martin Macwan said, the meet would take place on December 25, 2019, at 11.00 am, to commemorate the anniversary of burning of copies of Manusmriti by Dr BR Ambedkar.

What about religious persecution of Dalits, Adivasis, asks anti-CAA meet off Ahmedabad

By Rajiv Shah
A well-attended Dalit rights meet under the banner “14 Pe Charcha” (discussion on Article 14 of the Indian Constitution), alluding to Prime Minister Narendra Modi well-known campaign phrase of the 2014 Parliamentary elections, “chai pe charcha” (discussion over cup of tea), organized off Ahmedabad, has resolved on Wednesday to hold a 14 kilometres-long rally on April 14 to oppose the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), enacted on December 10-11.

'Allow critical thinking': SAARC-sponsored varsity teachers support protesting students

By Our Representative
Teachers of the high-profile South Asian University (SAU), a New Delhi-based international institute sponsored by eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka – have supported “peacefully protesting students and other citizens” against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), 2019 and the National Register of Citizens (NRC).

Upendra Baxi on foolish excellence, Indian judges and Consitutional cockroaches

By Rajiv Shah
In a controversial assertion, top legal expert Upendra Baxi has sought to question India's Constitution makers for neglecting human rights and social justice. Addressing an elite audience in Ahmedabad, Prof Baxi said, the constitutional idea of India enunciated by the Constituent Assembly tried to resolve four key conflicting concepts: governance, development, rights and justice.

Kerala governor turned History Congress into political arena, 'insulted' Prof Irfan Habib

Counterview Desk
In a signed statement, office bearers of the Aligarh Society of History and Archaeology (ASHA), Prof Syed Ali Nadeem Rezavi (president), Prof Jabir Raza (vice-president), Prof Manvendra Kumar Pundhir (secretary) and Prof Farhat Hasan (joint secretary), have said that Kerala governor Arif Mohammad Khan had sought to insult veteran historian Prof Irfan Habib, 88, at the 80th session of the Indian History Congress, even as turning it into his “political arena”.