Yashwant Sinha-led group calls for releasing all Kashmiri political detainees

The Concerned Citizens Group (CCG) led by former Indian minister and BJP leader, Yashwant Sinha, has urged the Indian government to immediately release all Kashmiri political detainees arrested under draconian Public Safety Act (PSA) in occupied Kashmir.

The group has also called for restoration of 4G communication in the occupied territory as well as lifting the curbs on all peaceful political activity.

The CCG, in a statement issued in New Delhi, observed with dismay that a year after the Indian government abrogated its special status, Jammu and Kashmir continues to be in a social, economic, political and communication lockdown.

The CCG visited Kashmir twice since August 5, 2019. During its visits in September and November 2019, after meeting a cross section of people, the group found that the India’s actions had led to shock, trauma and humiliation amongst the local population.

The CCG statement also pointed out that the Kashmiris seem to believe that the Indian government wanted to marginalise them. “This fear is expressed most vividly in the fear of demographic change by creating new settlements for outsiders. That the authorities have used the pandemic-induced lockdown to implement domicile laws for the territory has not helped allay these fears. The media which could have promoted debate on this issue is being harassed and hounded,” it further stated.

Commenting on the communication blockade, the CCG said that the internet ban in Kashmir, which began on August 5, last year, continues with only 2G connectivity being provided now. “This has affected students, job seekers, entrepreneurs, businesses and ordinary citizens alike and created havoc in banking, trade, business and healthcare. There are estimated to be 14 lakh children who were learning from online services. The 2G technology cannot sustain online learning, which is a ready option being used in the rest of the country. The school students in the rural areas who do not have either laptops or smart mobile phones are losing out a great deal,” it elaborated.

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