Several opposition parties in India on Thursday came together, demanding release of detained political leaders in Jammu and Kashmir.
The protest at the initiative of Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK), a dominant regional party in southern most province of Tamil Nadu, saw main opposition Congress, the Left and others also joining, to express solidarity with the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
It was also attended by the Congress, Trinamool Congress, Farooque Abdullah’s National Conference, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Samaj-wadi Party, CPI (M) and other Tamil political parties.
According to the Human Rights Watch (HRW), since Aug. 5, when the Indian government revoked special status to the region, hundreds of people including business and political leaders, have been arrested and some of them lodged in far off prisons.
Snapshots from the opposition parties protest, demanding the release of leaders detained in J&K, at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi today. pic.twitter.com/TgsLm7QvLx
— Ghulam Nabi Azad- (Office) (@Ghulam_NabiAzad) August 22, 2019
Two former chief minister Omar Abdullah and Mehbooba Mufti are under arrest and lodged in a makeshift prison. Another former chief minister Farooq Abdullah is under house arrest.
Addressing the gathering, top Left leader Sitaram Yechury, said the Prime Minister Narendra Modi government has manipulated the constitution, by handing over Jammu and Kashmir to the military.
Senior Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is from Jammu and Kashmir, lamented that he was not allowed to visit his home town.
Former Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad accused the Modi administration of using back door channels to usher in law to abolish the Article 370. He said, as quoted by The Hindu, “There is something grave happening in the State, which this government is trying to hide. The media is not allowed to telecast the truth.”
The Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha continued, “We must recognize that this is no democracy. If we fail to understand this, then we are living in a fool’s paradise.” Azad cited the policies of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, and lamented that had Vajpayee been in the Prime Ministerial office, such a violation would have never occurred.
“I tried to visit the state twice but was sent back,” said Azad, who is also a former chief minister of the region.
Another Left leader D Raja, said democracy has been strangulated in the country.
The political parties adopted a resolution demanding immediate release of public representatives and innocent civilians.
They also asked for immediate restoration of communications so that people can reach out to their family members.
“There has been a chilling crackdown on free speech and right of assembly. Such actions go against the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and need to be immediately reversed,” the resolution said.
Anadolu with additional input from GVS News Desk