“Let Kashmir be declared an open jail,” said former CPI(M) MLA from Kashmir, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, during a press conference on Wednesday in Delhi.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) had organised the press conference to condemn the charges under the Public Safety Act (PSA) slapped on a number of political leaders from Kashmir—including former CMs of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti.
Sitaram Yechury, general secretary, CPI(M), lambasted the central government for providing no relief to the people of Kashmir. Commenting on the visit of a foreign delegation to Srinagar on Wednesday, he said, “Diplomats come and go. All these visits are staged. Once they leave, new draconian sections are slapped on the leaders of the J&K.”
Yechury also said that six months have passed since the abrogation of Article 370 and the state has been badly hit on various fronts. “The tourism sector was badly affected, the agriculture and horticulture were also severely hit, owing to complete blockade. The saffron, which is one of the major remunerative crops of the Valley, saw a decline in sales as online payments collapsed. The economy is suffering and the people are even more miserable,” he said.
Tarigami talked about the implications of what is happening in Kashmir for the rest of the country, and said that Kashmir is a big human tragedy. “It can not be reduced to a real estate issue.”
He also said that the market has totally collapsed and the fruit growers have not been able to transport their produce to the market. “Thirty-six central ministers visited J&K, 31 visited Jammu and five went to Kashmir. Nobody knows what is the outcome of their visit, as no relief was disbursed after their visit. People of Jammu and Ladakh regions are screaming for their rights enjoyed in the past, but the government has not yet decided on the tribal status of the Ladakh region,” added Tariagmi.
Yechury ridiculed the government for boasting of “normalcy” in the state, where, on the other hand, the leaders and other sections of the people are “intimidated and put behind the bars”. “Being a popular leader and asking people to vote in the elections is also being seen as a crime by the BJP government,” said Yechury, referring to the PSA notice served to Abdullah.
Challenging grounds of detention of Mehbooba Mufti, Tarigami said that certain insulting remarks were also passed, which exposes the BJP’s mindset and shows its bankruptcy. “Democracy and nationalism are shown as contradictions to each other. It is not true. Jammu and Kashmir also have the right of a democratic structure. The people have that right under the constitution,” he asserted.
“Most of the hotels and guest houses are turned into jails. The central government must declare Kashmir as an open jail. Because that is the virtual reality of the Kashmiris. The people of Kashmir have lost trust in the government, but have tremendous faith in the people of India,” said Tarigami. Referring to Delhi elections, he said that it is a great sigh of relief and a ray of hope for the people, not just in Delhi but also in Kashmir.