On the first anniversary of the abrogation of article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir, several civil society members, intellectuals and activists have written to the Prime Minister asking for statehood to be restored to the region that continues to suffer a step-daughterly treatment to this day.
The signatories to the letter include; Justice A.P. Shah, Admiral Ramdas, Aruna Roy, Deb Mukharji, Nikhil De, Ganesh Devy, Lalita Ramdas, Sundar Burra, Major General Sudhir Vombatkere and Githa Hariharan.
The letter begins by addressing the date as “the first anniversary of the violation of our Constitutional commitment to the people of Jammu and Kashmir.” It goes on to comment on the current imposition of curfew in the Valley as “a sad and ironic commentary on the promises of rapid and widespread ‘development’ made by the Centre last year.”
The letter goes on to showcase the anguish of the people of the region saying, “Unparalleled stringent security measures have been imposed, leading to untold hardships for people whom we have always maintained are an ‘integral part of India’. Equally, the loss of identity has meant an almost total disintegration and alienation of the hearts and minds of the majority of the people. Internet suspension, media censorship, no jobs, no tourism, no schooling and no access to even online learning, since even so-called easing of restrictions has permitted only limited 2G access: these are only a few examples of what people have to live with every single day. They also have to live with deep anxiety and depression; or anger and resentment.”
The letter refers to recommendations of multiple fact-finding reports by civil society groups that underline “the urgent need to restore statehood, release all political prisoners, resume basic economic activities and internet and communications, redress human rights violations and restart schooling, among the necessary steps to build confidence.”
The entire letter may be read here.