Two days after the Centre removed restrictions on purchase of non-agricultural land in the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the PDP and the National Conference lashed out at the BJP-led Central government for passing order after order, “stripping J&K of its identity and its land”.
At least 19 PDP workers including youth wing president Waheed-ur-Rehman Para and party spokesperson Suhail Bukhari, who had gathered at the party office to protest the Centre’s decisions concerning the amendments to J&K’s land laws were detained by the police in Srinagar. They were, however, later released on surety bonds.
PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti, who was not allowed to meet detained party officials at the Kothibagh Police Station in Srinagar, said that the BJP’s “intentions are communal” and accused them of transforming J&K into a jail since “neither journalists nor civil society or politicians can speak their mind.”
Emphasising that they are not “Twitter politicians who will not step outside,” Mufti said: “A new order is passed by Delhi every day – whether it is domicile or early retirement of employees or these land laws, this cannot continue. If you are so powerful, why don’t you question China? They have taken away so much of your territory, where 20 soldiers were lost. You don’t want to discuss China.”
Stating that the party will not succumb to any attempts at “looting Kashmir”, Mufti said that even the people of Ladakh and Jammu are now witnessing the “true face of the BJP”. She also said that the BJP remains “solely concerned with elections” whether in Bihar now or in Bengal subsequently.
Meanwhile, NC vice-president Omar Abdullah said while Delhi has no qualms of conscience in speaking to the Nagas “whose leader says that neither the India Constitution nor the flag,” but when the people of Kashmir speak out for their land, they are accused of working against the country.
“We are called anti-national for raising our concerns even when what we are demanding is what was already guaranteed under the Constitution. What was snatched from us on August 5, was a part of India’s Constitution and if J&K had not been given the special status that it had, who knows what story would have been scripted in 1947.”
Speaking at the party headquarters in Srinagar, Omar said, “What does the Centre want from us? Do they want us to leave the mainstream, for which we have made sacrifices here for the last 30 years?”. He said the laws of the erstwhile state that empowered the poor in Kashmir have been removed and replaced with a free for all. “Do they expect us to sit quietly? All we have is attached to this land. Land to tiller, kept us going. Centre has created a situation where we have no option but to come together and save J&K from this,” he said.
The former CM said that if the political parties of J&K had worked together, perhaps these changes in J&K could have been avoided. “We remained scattered and they succeeded,” he said.
The signatories of the Gupkar Declaration have joined forces as the ‘People Alliance for Gupkar Declaration’ to challenge the changes brought in J&K on August 5, 2019.
“Our battle is for our identity, our land and our future,” Omar said.
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