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'If all is well in Kashmir, why are 7 million imprisoned in their homes?'

August 14, 2019 09:00 IST

'If the government is saying there is normalcy then I would like to change the definition of normalcy.'

IMAGE: Security personnel stand guard during restrictions in Srinagar. Photograph: S Irfan/PTI Photo

A group of citizens from the Kashmiri Pandit, Dogra and Sikh communities issued a statement on August 10, 2019, condemning the revoking of Article 370 of the Constitution by the Narendra Modi government.

The 64 signatories also rejected the “unilateral, undemocratic and unconstitutional imposition” on them.

Air Vice-Marshal (retd) Kapil Kak is one of the signatories who have opposed the government's move.

 

The group said the Centre's decision was "made in stealth and (by) using coercive means", and called for "an immediate lifting of the state of siege" in Jammu and Kashmir.

The state has been under an unprecedented security and information clampdown since the evening before the Centre's first announced the decision on August 5.

“I strongly believe that the step taken by the Modi government on Article 370 is unconstitutional, undemocratic and it is illegal,” Kak tells Rediff.com’s Syed Firdaus Ashraf.

Why did you sign the statement against the scrapping of Article 370?

I strongly believe that the step taken by the Modi government on Article 370 is unconstitutional, undemocratic and it is illegal.

Why is it unconstitutional?

Because the Constitution has been played around with certain changes here and there which has not been contested, and obviously the Supreme Court in due course will see the matter.

If the Supreme Court tells me if there is no unconstitutionally in this, then as a citizen of India I will bow and there is no another level above that except God.

India’s Parliament is supreme and the people of India have given the Modi government a mandate to take such decisions.

Pleases check the history of Athenians and Spartans.

This was the ancient period when there was a swing from one side to other side.

Parliament is not supreme.

There is Parliament, executive and (Jammu and Kashmir) legislature too.

Agreed that the legislature of J&K was not consulted before dilution of Article 370 but that doesn't invalidate the Centre's move.

Fundamental principle of any good democracy is to do nothing to hurt, humiliate and remove the sense of dignity of nearly 10-12 million people of J&K.

I am talking about 99.9 per cent of the valley, approximately 70,000 people in Kargil and approximately two million in Jammu.

They are all opposed to the Modi government’s move on Article 370.

If the people of Kashmir are welcoming the dilution of Article 370, why are seven million imprisoned in their homes?

If all is well in Kashmir, why aren’t children going to school?

Why aren’t offices open?

I think this decision has to be reviewed to restore a sense of confidence in the people of J&K who feel this is the final betrayal by the central government.

This move was done in secrecy and done through deception.

Do you think this move will harm India’s federal structure?

There has been a complete breach (of trust).

If the government is saying there is normalcy then I would like to change the definition of normalcy.

Co-existence, accommodation, the mutual love and consideration between communities will have to clearly to see as time pans out.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh got Kashmiri students and hosted lunch for them.

These are small steps which increase the J&K youth's faith and confidence in the system.

Youth are the centre of gravity of J&K or of any country.

If we are able to turn the youth around to a new path, I will only be too happy.

Don’t you think dilution of Article 370 and 35A will help the youth of the state as there are not many job opportunities, which the government claims?

This is farthest from actual fact.

If you talk of development, J&K is far ahead of 20 other states of India.

So why don’t you concentrate on other states?

Don’t you think the government’s move will help Kashmiri Pandits return to their homes?

As a Kashmiri Pandit I am as pained now as I was then that my community of 3 lakh people had to move out under compulsion.

Kashmiri Pandits did not move out because of ethnic cleansing.

It is not an accurate description.

Just 600-700 Kashmiri Pandits were targeted against which the local Muslim community felt helpless.

It is very tragic that so much has been said about Kashmiri Pandits in the last five years and the Modi government has not moved one step to get Kashmiri Pandits back in Kashmir.

Today, there are 6000 jobs for Kashmiri Pandits.

It is because of (former prime minister) Dr Manmohan Singh, as he got these jobs for them exclusively.

He said once they (Kashmiri Pandits) get jobs, the question of their residences can be resolved.

They created temporary accommodation for approximately 5000 people.

Kashmiri Pandits never got any special treatment under the Modi government since he came to power in 2014.

SYED FIRDAUS ASHRAF / Rediff.com
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